“I stand at the brink of a freshly dug grave. Inside is the Kabiyesi, a man I respected all my life. Why wouldn’t I? He picked me from among many and gave me all I desired. I’d give him almost anything… Except this. My life. I don’t want to be buried with him.
I was just an ordinary citizen of Ile-ife, going about my normal routine – Wake up, take my bathe, go outside to earn a living, eat when I can, come back and sleep in preparation for another day, when a contingent of chiefs came to meet me that I had been selected to be the next abobaku. “a person who dies with the king”
I dared not accept. I went with them like a lamb to the slaughter house. Reluctantly, but knowing he has no other option. He is not strong enough to break free.
I was put in a big room with lavish accommodations and chiefs and townspeople lavished gifts on me. I never had to work again, however I secretly wished they’d bestow on me the gift I truly wanted but would never get. The gift of my life back.
I’ve dreaded the day when Kabiyesi would die. It would mean my own end too. I love my king and would gladly die in battle to protect my people but this is different. This is asking me to lay down my life to “accompany the king to the afterlife.” Why? What help could he get from me there? Why should I have to be murdered in cold blood? What of my dreams? My aspirations? My goals and wishes?
Don’t I have a voice? A right? A chance at an actual life?
It seems I don’t and I scream inside as I’m pushed into the grave. I can hear the soft sound of dirt falling on the beautiful wooden casket. I feel it fall on me, as soft as rain. Tears escape and trickle down my cheeks as I am gradually submerged under the pile of sand being pushed back into the hole. I have no say in this, tied and gagged as I am.”
The herbalists finish the rites, everyone turns around and goes home. No one hears the pitiful silent screams as the abobaku pleads for his life. And then… Silence.
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