THE ORIGIN OF EKWENSU, Act vi

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ACT v, SCENE ii

UDO: As Ikendah sits in front of his hut at night, the thoughts of Zenu lead me to him for some questions. I lower myself to a stool close to him. Ikendah, where is Anochie?

IKENDAH: He should be in his hut if he is back from the gathering of the drummers.

THE ORIGIN OF EKWENSU ACT V

THE ORIGIN OF EKWENSU ACT iv

UDO: That is good. I have not stayed here for new yam festival since I knew your people.

IKENDAH: It is your good nature, you do not want to leave your mother. I am thinking if you will ever marry me.

UDO:(Folding her hands in between her legs shyly.) If our gods permit it.

(From inside another hut, Paa Chukwuma’s voice calls)

CHUKWUMA: Udo, Udo o!

UDO:(Answering and rushing to his hut.)  Paa!

(She comes back to join Ikendah shortly.)

IKENDAH: What did my father want?

UDO: He was asking if I have brought back the empty keg of palm wine from Nmekini’s home. Ehem! That reminds me, I met Zenu, the drunk son of a drunk father.

IKENDAH: That nkpanaka. I Hope he did not ask you of the palm wine you had with you.

UDO: No! Why do you call him that? Nkpanaka.

IKENDAH: During our festivals, he wrestles with children, very young kinsmen instead of his mate and he is the only son. People think his mother still breastfeeds him since he does not want to grow into a man.

UDO: A mother must always love her own child. Hmmmm! Why is he like that?

IKENDAH: We do not know. No one knew what happened but it is certain that he took the drinking from his father. When we were children, Zenu was very strong and hard working but…

UDO: But what?

IKENDAH: We were close until he threw me down during a wrestling match.

UDO:(Supporting her chin with her right palm while laughing.) Heeh! Hmmmm! He was your friend.

IKENDAH: Yes. Maybe.

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ACT v, SCENE iii

UDO: Zenu’s face lives inside my mind as I stay with Paa Chukwuma and rub his feet. Paa Chukwuma, he who holds wealth. Paa Chukwuma, he who holds the last title.

CHUKWUMA:(Smiling in his own pride.) I hear you.

UDO: I hope my hands calm you.

CHUKWUMA: Your presence can even calm the wicked agamekwe masquerade.

UDO:(Smiling.) I will always do you well my Lord. I am going to meet my mother once it is morning.

CHUKWUMA: Is it two market weeks already? Oh my goddess!

(Later as kinsmen come to meet Paa Chukwuma, Udo becomes relieved. She runs out of the compound, speeding through different foot paths.)

 

ACT v, SCENE iv

UDO: I stop at the place where I met Zenu, looking around for him. When people approach, I hide in the bush watching if Zenu might pass. Zenu did not pass. I run to other paths to search but found nothing of him.



ACT v, SCENE v

UDO: My feet trespass more foot paths in search of  Zenu. I stand again at the place where we met, looking and turning till a very graceful maiden walk by with her water pot. Beautiful sister, how is it?

MININMA: It is well and how are your people?

UDO: We are alive. Please I have some palm wine for the drunk.

MININMA: You mean for Zenu, the drunk son of a drunk father?

UDO: Yes! Where is his home?

MININMA: I do not know but he passes through the path behind the big tree where three foot paths meet as the sun rises. You are not from here.

UDO: No! Ah yes! I’m from here. The gods bless you.

(Udo speeds away as the maiden watch without much care.)




ACT v, SCENE vi

UDO: Ikendah talks about walking with me to see my mother as I set for my journey. A basket of yams, jigida and wrapper settling on my head. I shall go alone as I used to.

IKENDAH: Why do you not want me to come and see how your people are?

UDO:(Laughs shortly.) You Ikendah, son of Chukwuma know all the clan in this village and the ones in other villages. You speak of my people as if you do not trade with them. In due time, you will come to my people.

IKENDAH:(Smiles.) With full kegs of palm wine and everything I have to marry you.

UDO: Yes! I will leave now. (Walking away.)

IKENDAH: Return to me soon.

UDO: I hear.

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ACT v, SCENE vii

UDO: I watch from the bush behind the big tree where three foot paths meet, Zenu staggers through but stops suddenly as if he feels something. I rush out of the bush and drag him far into a farm. Why do you stop each time I am near?

ZENU: Stop? Who are you?

UDO: Please sit on a ridge with me. (They sit in between grown cassava plants on a long ridge.) I am Udo, the goddess of Paa Chukwuma?

ZENU: Ah! My friend’s father. Wait! Why are you his goddess? What of  Ijeoma? Ijeoma is the only goddess I know. In short she was there at the playground with Ekwa when I threw Ikendah during a wrestling match not quite long. (Suddenly thinks.) Hah! Ikendah, I have not seen him for long.

UDO: Look at yourself Zenu.

(Zenu stares at himself.)

UDO: You are no longer a child, it has been seven farming seasons after you threw Ikendah during the new yam festival.

ZENU:(Looking around strangely.) Why?

UDO: You always stop each time you see me. You are a drunkard but you stop each time you see me and now you talk as if you have no wine in you.

ZENU:(Rising to his feet.) The gods forbid. It is only my father that is a drunkard! Udo, beautiful maiden you have done well by luring me into a bush but I was going to see Ikendah for us to go and hunt lizards.

UDO:(Laughs heartily.) Ikendah does not hunt lizards anymore. He is now a grown man building his own hut for a new wife soon, even Anochie has a hut and a small yam barn now. He shall marry my friend soon.

ZENU:(Walking away angrily.) You lie!

UDO: Look at yourself again. Was this how you were during the wrestling match?

ZENU:(Starring at his bold hairy legs.) No!

UDO: Follow me and see something.

(They both walk to the foot path where Zenu’s keg of palm wine fell out of his hands.)

UDO: That keg of palm wine is what you have been carrying about since you became drunk.

ZENU:(Starring at the keg earnestly.) The catapult around the keg belongs to me. I must believe you maiden but how did I get that keg? How did I become like my father?

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ACT v, SCENE viii

UDO: My mother embraces me happily in front of some people that I did not know at first. Heeeeh Mama! How is it?

CHISALE: We are well, we have been waiting for you to return.

(Urie and Dinma embrace her too.)

UDO: Hah! Dinma, Maa Dinma you are here too. I am happy.

(Everyone laugh.)

DINMA: Welcome. How is Anochie?

UDO: He is well, you speak as if you did not see him four nights ago.

DINMA:(Smiling excitedly.) How is the hut he is building?

UDO: The hut is now a home. He is coming soon.

URIE:(Spreading her hands to the sky.) We thank Eli o for blessing our daughters.

CHISALE: Yes o. Our gods do not shame us at all.

UDO: Iiiyaaah!

CHISALE: Udo what about the kinsman?

DINMA: Anochie’s brother Ikendah. Your mother knows about you and him from me.

UDO: Heeei! You this talkative friend. Okoko  (She chases Dinma around the compound while the two women laugh at them.)

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ACT vi, SCENE i

UDO: My people are for whom I care, from the cowries I get from Paa Chukwuma, I give to two bind men under a tree in the market. I greet women and men as they sell and buy. Mama Chika greetings o

MAMA CHIKA: Ah! Udo! You have returned.

UDO: Yes!

MAMA CHIKA: Welcome. You have come to greet us. You are a good child. Send my greetings to your mother ooh?

UDO: I will.

(As Udo walk home, Dinma comes to her with three maidens.)

DINMA: Udo, welcome. How was it at the market?

UDO: Very well and why are you with these maidens that hunt us.

(Maya, Nchelem and Omam kneel on the bush path and plead before her.)

NCHELEM: We are sorry Udo, you are good to us. We should be good to you.

UDO: Hmmm!

MAYA: Please forgive us.

OMAM: Forgive us Udo, there is no maiden like you. Forgive us and make us your friends.

DINMA: Please forgive them Udo. They have been good to me.

NCHELEM: Please forgive us. We are sorry.

UDO: Get up. Have you gone to the stream today?

OMAM: No!

UDO: Let us go and fetch our pots so that we can go together.

(The maidens thank Udo excitedly but as they walk behind her. Nchelem mocks and laughs her ignorance.)

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