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Life is Sweet at Kumansenu – Four Levels of Interactions | Flax-Golden Tales
Life is Sweet at Kumansenu – Abioseh Nicol, Sierra Leone (1924-1994)
The story is about a family in a small African village Kumansenu, Nigeria. The main characters in the story are Bola, her son Meji, Meji’s daughter Asi and the magician, Musa. Accounting to the story, a dead child’s spirit crept back into its mother’s womb and mocked its mother by dying again and again. Ola had given birth to six sons regularly every two years but all of them had died. So when her sixth child died, the village magician, Musa, told Bola to break the bone of the dead body and bury it so that the apirit couldn’t be born again. Instead of doing so, she had only marked on the left buttock of the sixth baby. It was the event of 30 years ago.
At the beginning of the story, Bola was living with her granddaughter Asi in a small village Kumansenu. It was Friday. She was cooking food. Her son Meji was a clerk in an office. So he lived in the town. She was proud of him. When she went to bring pepper to put into the food, she was surprised to see Meji and asked about his arrival. Although she wanted to arrange a feast to let the villagers know about his arrival, Meji told his mother not to tell anyone about him.
He said that he was too much tired and he wanted to enjoy. With his mother and daughter because life was too short. He slept all the Time. The next, day was Saturday. He took his child to the hill and grave. At night Bola found Meji outside in the rain but he was not wet. When she called him to come into his house, he said that he arrived to thank her because she had given him a chance to live a sweet life. On Sunday afternoon, people gathered in her house.
Mr Addai told Bola about her son’s death on Friday. But Bola was not ready to accept it because he had arrived home on Friday and left on Sunday morning. Then Mrs. Meji came with the news of Mr. Meji’s death. She said that Meji had died at noon on Friday and had been buried on Saturday at sundown. She also said that she couldn’t bring a dead body to Kumansenu because the dead body didn’t last much after a day in the hot season and there were no trucks available to hire. He had died when the window glass cut his throat in the office.
Then Asi said that since his throat was cut, her father had tied a scarf around his neck and he hadn’t got a shadow, too. His watch had also stopped at 12 O’clock. Mrs. Meji gave a small gold locket to Asi as a last gift of Asi’s father. Nobody could open it but Ssi opened it. She claimed that her father had told her the method about how to open it although her mother told that Asi had seen that gold locket the first time.
After all the villagers had gone for prayer, Musa told Bola that it was the consequence of not following his suggestion. Then Bola replied that she was glad for giving him a chance to live a sweet life.
The story might be trying to tell the power of love between son and mother in African culture. Mr. Meji came to visit his mother, Bola, even after death. The story might also be trying to show maternal love. Although the village magician, Musa, told Bola to break the bone of the dead body of the sixth child and bury it so that the spirit couldn’t be born again.instead of doing so, she had only marked on the left buttock of the sixth baby and she gave birth to the seventh child, Meji. In this way, the story has highlighted the concept of maternal love, true respect to mother and cultural practices in superstitious societies of Kumansenu, Nigeria.
Although the story is interesting to read, there are still some, points in the story with which I don’t agree. Meji died on Friday. If so, how can the dead body go to Kumansenu, speak with Bola and take to Asi up to hill? Can’t we identify to a dead person? The story tells that a dead child’s spirit crept back into its mother’s womb and mocked its mother by dying again and again. Do we believe that the same child is born again and again from the same womb? Six children died as soon as they were born but a seventh child, Meji lived for 30 years. How was he able to live for so long? The readers are in confusion about that.
After reading this story, I came to know that even the Nigerian people believe in spirits, ghosts etc. some of the Nepalese people in village area believe that a person is born through the womb of next mother when he/ she does. It is also believed that a person goes and troubles to others being a ghost after death. So there are some similar concepts between Nepalese and Nigerian people.
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