Short Story

The Return of Efunsetan Aniwura

Death is the doorway to new life.

We live today. We shall live again.

In many forms we shall return.

The Egyptian Prayer of Resurrection


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August, 1993

The sun was risen at the top of the mountains. At Oyo, Iyalaje was groaning, she was in pains and laborious breath. It was as though she won’t make it. The midwife with bloodied gloved hands kept encouraging her to push – sweat drips and with so much screaming from the new mother, Iyalaje delivers a bouncing baby girl.

As soon as the nurse assistant could rush out of the labour room, she shouted on top of her voice.

“Ati bimo o!” – We have delivered a baby.

There were other women seated, heavily pregnant at foamy seats. Though they couldn’t join in the immediate joy swirling around them they shouted their congrats, rubbing their palms together in prayer hoping for a safe delivery too. The man who had been pacing the floors jumped at the announcement. Followed by another woman, they both stood in front of the nurse.

“Where she is?”

He almost held the woman but she lifted her hands to signify she won’t like to be touched.

Adekunle Ajagbe – father of the child and husband to Iyalaje, -decided to call their daughter Aniwura meaning “we have gold”. It was the only name he gave her. Iyalaje was not pleased with the name because we all knew what happened to the Iyalode who went by the name – she was assassinated in her own bed, in spite of all her sterling achievements. Everyone called her Wura, except for a few grannies who preferred to call her full name.

Wura was an exceptionally bright child. She was neat, excelled at every academic performance and spoke intelligently.

September, 2011

Wura had a box in her left hand, her backpack balanced on her shoulders.

“Must you go to Lagos?” Iyalaje wiped her eyes with her white handkerchief.

“Mami, I’ll be fine. I’m a big girl now.”

Iyalaje turned to Ajagbe giving him her best mournful look.

“Are you going to let her go like this?”

“Woman, we already discussed this. She can take care of herself.”

“Mami, stop crying o! If not, you will make me cry too.” Wura wrapped her long arms around her mother’s voluptuous figure, she grinned – showing pearly white teeth – at her father who stood behind her mother.

Ajagbe smiled.

“The gods go with you my daughter. May fame and fortune find you,” Ajagbe’s voice was steady betraying the wistful sadness he felt.

Iyalaje braved on a smile.

“Yes, the spirit of my ancestors will protect you. Don’t forget to call when you get to Lagos.”

“I won’t forget Mami,” Wura smiled at her mother and father.

“It’s not too late to get some foodstuff, who knows what kind of rubbish they eat in that Lagos. I know their garri cannot match the ones they make at Molete and the ones they sell at Challenge,” Iyalaje boasted.

That’s it Mami. Way to go! Wura was amused. Iyalaje would do almost anything to stop her including rallying against the food in Lagos.

Wura gained admission into the University of Lagos. It was her choice. She had lived all her life in Oyo, even going to Ibadan was a luxury her mother afforded her at every year’s end. As the only child of her parents after fifteen years of barrenness, it did not come as a surprise that Iyalaje was reluctant to let her daughter out of her sight.

Wura settled in school with ease. It came as no surprise since everyone she met was ready to help her. One would have thought she were some queen.

She studied business administration and she made good grades. In addition to Wura’s brains was her beauty – she was tall with a dark flawless skin and teeth made for laughing. She had her fair share of men running around her, trying to please her and get into her good books.

June, 2013

The afin -palace – was set in the old times, the Oba was seated in the throne. He shook his left leg and his eyes were red…

Read on

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