The clash of two cultures in WWII Africa
If you live in London and haven’t seen this play yet, run to the National Theatre as it will be on until 17 June only. Based on a true story, Death and the King’s Horseman depicts with beauty, taste and strength a cultural clash between the British colonial community and the local traditions of Nigeria.
It has been one month since The Alafin (King) of Oyo has died and as per the tradition, the community is preparing for the night’s ritual: the burial of the King along with the ritual suicide and wedding of his ‘Horseman’ who will accompany him to the other world. Having heard about the ritual, the British colonial officer in charge of the area is on his way, in order to prevent this ‘murder’ from happening, along with what could be regarded as chaos in his hierarchy.
Full of authenticity, this play tells the story of two ‘co-living’ communities who due to cultural differences do not understand each other and probably never will. The interaction within each of the communities is alien to the other one.
A subject approached with subtlety, which is still relevant to this day in various parts of the World.
-The original story took place in Nigeria in 1946. For the purposes of the play, Wole Soyinka set the story back in 1943-
By Melanie Chevalier