Home Top Ad


Own A Blog Like This
For Questions, Inquiries, Click Here
Page | Group - Follow us - Call us - Submit your Stories - [email protected]




Naijamedialog Pointing Hand

Shackles Of Tradition - Episode 6




Shackles Of Tradition - Episode 6

Written by Amah's Heart 


Emeka was feeling dejected by the time he got back home. Truth be told, he has always known that he is an Osucast but he dreads being reminded of it. 

How wouldn't he know? 

When right from childhood he experienced the painful aftermaths of being an Outcast in his own village. 

The Osucast system is a social hierarchy that exists amongst the Igbo people of Nigeria and amongst the oldest Igbo tradition.

 The system is based on ancestry and a traditional lineage in which some individuals are being considered as "Osu" or outcastes and others being considered as "freeborn."

The Osucast is believed to have originated from people who were enslaved by or allied with European or Muslim invaders. 

Eventually, after they were freed and brought back home but unfortunately they were estranged and referred to as outcasts, and also kept away from relating with the freeborns who weren't captured along with them.

Even though the official legal status of the Osucast was abolished in Nigeria in 1963, it is still undauntedly practiced by some typical Igbo communities who strictly abide by tradition. 

Over time, the Osucast system was reinforced through marriage and social customs. 

And it became deeply entrenched in the modern Igbo communities despite the missionaries persistent attempt to completely wipe it out from existence. 

The resultant effects of this Osucast practice is usually the issue of discrimination. 

Osu individuals often face discrimination in a number of areas including employment, education, and access to services.

 In some cases, Osu individuals have been denied admission to universities or employment in certain fields. Even when they do have access to education or employment, they often face vivid discrimination and social stigma.

Another important aspect of the Osucast system is the use of taboos to reinforce the system. These taboos portrays the idea that the Osu individuals are impure or unclean human beings.

First, In terms of relationships and marriages the Osucast system has had a significant impact on social norms. 

In many communities, it is considered taboo for freeborn individuals to marry Osu individuals. 

Even when this is not strictly forbidden, there is often social pressure to marry within one's Osucast tribe.

 This has led to a situation where many Osu individuals have difficulty finding marriage partners and some have even chosen to remain single. 

Second is that the stigma associated with the Osucast system has also impacted the mental health of the Osu individuals as they are often excluded from social and economic opportunities. 

They are often prohibited from attending certain events such as funerals or weddings and they are sometimes required to sit in separate areas in public spaces. 

Third is that the system also affected inheritance as the Osu individuals are often excluded from inheriting properties or wealth. In cases like this, the relatives of the freeborn families oftentimes ceases the properties of the deceased for their selfish interests.

Fourth is that in some villages whenever a king d!es and is set to be buried, some of the Osucasts were k!lled as a sacrifice to escort the king to the land of the dëād.

Years and years, all these consequences and other aspects of the Osucast system has had a profound impact on Osu individuals which results to poverty, depression and social exclusion.

It's quite unfortunate that Emeka's village happens to be amongst this communities that estrange and practice discrimination against the Osucast. This is the sole reason Uchechi and her son Emeka is suffering immensely.

Emeka sighed deeply as past sad memories begun flooding into his mind of the several encounters he had with people whilst growing up.

Is it the rejection and stigmatism? Or the disdainful looks of discrimination...? 

Is it the way people avoided him and his mother as though there were plague...?

Is it the fact that he, his mother and other Osucasts had to live in a secluded part of the village away from the freeborn villagers...?

Not to talk of the way his paternal relatives treated him and his mother after the untimely dëäth of his father...?

They had confiscated his father's remaining properties leaving him and his mother to fend for themselves in penury and seclusion. 

It is a terrible experience which has remained engraved in his memory!

On the other hand, it was thanks to this selective ill treatments he got from his people that made him mentally mature earlier than he intended to be. 

Emeka grew up always bearing in mind that he is an Osucast and that nobody loves him hence he tried his very best to steer off the way of everyone. 

The only person he freely associated with was his mother. It was not until he came across Adanna who taught him a different side to life that he slowly begun forgetting this såd truth of his life.

At first, it was quite surprising and unusual that Adanna never avoided him like everyone else did. 

It was later Emeka found out that it was because she was truly ignorant of his true identity as an Osucast. 

As he got closer to Adanna, he fell so much in love with her and was scared of loosing her love so he decided to keep his identity hidden, and the fact that their relationship was a secret low-key relationship made things easier for him.

They always met in private places so people never really saw them together which helped in keeping the rumors and gossips from villagers at its minimal 

It was an added advantage that Adanna was not even observant enough. 

Probably it's her love for him that kept her déaf to the side talks she heard in the past about his identity before their relationship begun progressing this far.

"Why me! Is it my fault that I was birthed as an Osucast? Emeka blurted out feeling very pained. He is only a victim of birth circumstance because his mother Uchechi is an Osucast! 

Turns out Uchechi is an only child who got the gene from her father who was an Osucast. It was her late mother; his grandmother that was a freeborn villager but had married his maternal grandfather out of love regardless of the consequences associated with it.

" What's wrong Emeka...? You look worried and sad...did something bad happen...?" Uchechi asked abruptly interrupting Emeka's thoughts the instant she came outside the hut and saw him in a sullen mood

" Everything is wrong Mama. I've finally lost the love of my life..oh! I'm finished!" Emeka exclaimed as he begun divulging all that transpired between him, Adanna and her father few minutes ago.

Uchechi sighed and exhaled in exhaustion as she finished listening to her son express himself. 

Truthfully, she always knew that a time like this would come but she wasn't expecting it this soon. 

She and Emeka are outcasts and whose family would knowingly want to have anything to do with an Osucast...?

This took her down memory lane as to what she went through on her own part 

When Uchechi was growing up as a child, she observed that people and especially children of her age grade did not want to play with her. 

At such a tender age she never really understood why it was so and never bothered to inquire from her parents the reasons for such rejectee treatment. 

Uchechi ended up growing and living her childhood as a loner against her intent. 

And although lonesome, life moved on fine until after the dëäth of her parents resulting from a brief serious !llness.

A few months after her parents dëäth, her mother's kinsmen begun thronging her father's house to forcefully take his little possessions away. She was ten years old as at the time they came to the house to carry out their selfish aim. 

When she confronted them, they told her an unforgettable truth which is that she is a child of an Outcast which automatically makes her an Osucast too.

It is that period that everything related to the Osucast became clearer to Uchechi and the discrimination intensified as people in the village avoided her completely.

It got worst on a daily basis and since she didn't have anyone who was interested in being her friend or to play with her in the village, 

Uchechi had no choice but to live her entire life alone while bearing the discrimination, disdain, and rejection that comes with being a young Osucast.

Shortly afterwards, she fell in love and subsequently married Emeka's father who although a freeborn loved her a lot.  It is their marital union that birthed Emeka who automatically and sadly became an Osucast like her.

" You'll need to calm down Emeka. I know this is hard for you but you need to calm down and if possible let Adanna go...please my son."

 Uchechi had to soothingly speak out when she saw how restless her son was becoming, whilst for Emeka his mind is wandering about without an actual destination. 

He keeps wondering what this is likely going to mean for his relationship with Adanna? Would she leave him because he is an Osucast? Is she also going to discriminate against him like the rest? Would all this cost him a relationship that he has being nurturing for marriage for years now? 

" I love Adanna mama.. I love Adanna very much that I can't bear the thoughts of being separated from her because of one stup!d myopic belief and tradition!"

" I understand you Emeka but my advice to you at this point is that you should find a beautiful Osucast woman like yourself and marry her. I can even help you find one from a well trained home. Then after your marriage... together we can push through with your plans to relocate to the city...that way you two would enjoy your lives without all this shackles of tradition!"

" Mama you're forgetting that Adanna and I took a bløød oath never to leave each other and that whoever does will face the consequences which is either dëäth or madness. So Mama what then happens to the bløød covenant if I end up doing what you are advising me to do....?" 

Emeka asked whilst Uchechi remained tight-lipped with fear and trepidation clearly written on her face.

(Do not take credit or Plagiarize AMAH'S HEART stories)

Next Episode

Previous Episode 

No comments