Friday, July 13, 2012

Keeping alive ancient traditions through narratives

Like Father Like Son is a story of a typical rural setting and communal life, and how traditional mores affect every member living in t. It centres on Onyonyo Aku, a town surrounded by hills. The story is about Ozoduru Nwokenkpo, a man who lives a life of an alcoholic and consorts with women of easy virtues. His death is also unsung due to his inability to listen to advice on the danger and the wrath of the gods based the town’s beliefs.
  Like the title suggests, Nwokenkpo’s only son Okoro is expected to redeem the battered image of his late father, but the reverse unfortunately happens. He not only tows the despicable path of his father but goes ahead to violate the sacred and revered customs of the people through his abominable behaviour.
  He impregnates Ogbonneye, the village belle, makes her to abort the first child and later abandons her with the second child on the way. This results in her untimely death. Her death becomes a source of many speculations in the village. While some condemn Okoro’s act of rejection by not taking responsibility for the pregnancy, others could not understand why she commits suicide for being pregnant again. The story mystifies the villagers.
  When the village eventually goes to war, the past seems to have faded away, and only stories of the war are on the lips of the people.
  Okoro becomes a hero of sorts and much loved by everybody. He excels in hunting, and this makes him loved by the ladies in the village. Like his father, he never takes his eyes off attractive ladies, especial those that play hard to get. Onugwuja Ike becomes his next victim. Heavy drinking and womanizing with both married and unmarried women, keeping late nights and staying away from home for long periods become his habit.
  After several warnings and his refusal to toe the right path, the wrath of the ancestors falls on him; it is without remedy. Although the gods are appeased, retributive justice no doubt takes its natural course as the gods of the land torment him, with the shadow of Ogbonneye and her unborn baby also haunting him to his death.
  The author paints the picture of rural peace in Onyonyo Aku. But he is quick to point out that such peace has been broken with the advent of Western lifestyles. He states that Onyonyo Aku people are “homogeneous, widely respected for their total devotion, honesty and industriousness. Their business moves them to places but in spite of all that, they remain loyal and faithful to the core. Their sexual interaction and enjoyment remains an exclusive reserve for their husbands, thus enjoying a pride of place in the hearts of their men.
  “Today, the story is different. Things have fallen apart as some of our women have thrown decorum to the dogs. The legendary Onyonyo Aku dignity is being dragged in the mud on the altar of women libration and Christianity”.
  This can well be explained in the face of modern developments. In Like Father Like Son, it is clear that tradition plays a major role in the village. Respect for tradition seems crucial. Repercussion from the gods in times of irreverence may take long but it comes nonetheless, as there are no sacred cows. For every offence there is always a day of reckoning; there is no sin that will go unpunished even though it is takes time coming.
  The book has many grammatical and spelling errors that mar its enjoyment. It would, however, enable a good many to learn about some traditions and how the forefathers and gods should be appeased when the need arises. One thing Like Father Like Son points out is that life is governed by tradition irrespective of the level of development.
  The author, Diyoke, should be saluted for giving insight into such area that is fast receding.

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