October 6, 2021 at 7:17 pm #54398
The slave girl 1
Slavery was one of the evils men perpetuated against their fellow men. Africa was worst hit by this sacrilegious act which subjected humans to utter hardship, physical and mental torture. Slavery had also led to loss of the identity of many of its victims who were forcefully taken from their homes and forced to change their names to suit the languages of their masters in far away lands. Slavery is bad and it’s negative effects are lasting. The transatlantic slave trade had been abolished years ago but its effects on Africa are still felt.
This is the Story of Urenna, a slave girl from the eastern part of Nigeria.
Urenna was the only daughter of the king of Ude village. She was born and raised as a princess thus, she had the privilege most girls of her time didn’t enjoy. At birth, she was betrothed to Ikem, the son of one of the wealthiest men in the village. Urenna was smart and intelligent from childhood. She knew more than children of her age even though she was not exposed to the things the others experienced. Sometimes, her father had lamented to the gods, asking why they didn’t create Urenna to be a man and the heir to his throne. He believed that Urenna would have made a great king after him if she was a man. But nature had decided.
Growing up, Urenna gradually turned into a beautiful elegant woman. She was slightly above average in height, possessed well rounded buttocks and curvy hips, endowed with sizeable breasts and blessed with a ‘near perfect’ facial structure. Her lips were full and well curved. When she walked, her strides showed elegance and her pace majestic. Urenna was indeed a pleasant sight to behold and the presence of her maids behind her whenever she stepped out made her appearance complete. She knew how pleasant her appearance looked and carried herself with so much pride. Anytime Ikem her betrothed visited the palace, he spent half of the time eulogising Urenna and repeating how lucky he was having her as a wife to be.
But there was a huge problem. Urenna didn’t like anything about Ikem. His presence irritated her and she felt suffocated whenever he came with his praises. The only reason she tolerated him was because she didn’t want to disobey her father, the king, who had always sang to her hearing how benefiting her union with Ikem would be to their family. Urenna was rather in love with Omenka, a former palace guard who was dismissed because of his entanglement with her. But even after his dismissal, they (Urenna and Omenka) kept seeing each other. The always met by the stream at the sunset of every Eke market day. Whenever they were meeting, Urenna’s maids would stand a small distance away, affording them the privacy to discuss, laugh, giggle and have occasional kisses.
After each meeting, Urenna would warn her maids never to tell anyone of her affair with Omenka else she’d make sure the person would be dismissed from the palace. But those warnings were not enough to keep their mouths shut. Out of jealousy, one of the maids reported Urenna’s affair with Omenka to the Queen, Urenna’s mother. When the news got to the king, he ordered the guards to find Omenka and bring him to the palace. When Omenka was brought before the king, he (Omenka) was held on every limb by some guards while two others flogged him mercilessly at the instruction of the king.
After the flogging, Omenka couldn’t stand. As he laid on the ground crying and nursing his pains, the king sternly warned him to steer clear of his daughter and threatened to banish him and his family if any report of his entanglement with Urenna was reported again.
But as they said, love is greater than pain. The pains the guards inflicted on Omenka didn’t deter him from seeing Urenna, the love of his life. The emotional pain he’d feel from not being with Urenna was more painful than the physical pain the guards inflicted on him, thus he chose the lesser pain. They only changed the time, venue and frequency of their meetings. They started seeing each other every two Eke market days at the outskirt of the village where they believed no one would see them. Their new meeting place was almost at the boundary between Ude village and their neighbors. Urenna also made sure none of her maids followed her whenever she went to meet with the love of her life. Their love blossomed.
Few months later, Ikem and his kinsmen came to the palace to inform the king of their plans to conclude the traditional marriage rites on Urenna’s head and take her home. They fixed a date for the traditional marriage ceremony and went home to commence preparations. When Urenna heard of that arrangement, she felt bad. The thought of leaving Omenka and sticking with Ikem hurt her badly. She cried out her eyes. The next Eke market day which was their meeting day, she set out to their meeting spot. She’d gone there to see Omenka for the last time and bid him goodbye before getting married to Ikem.
When she got to the Udara (Cherry) tree under which they sat in each other’s company, Omenka was not there. She was surprised. It was unusual for Omenka to let her come before him. She thought simmering kept him and decided to wait. As she sat by the foot of the tree waiting for Omenka, a pair of hands violently covered her mouth while another grabbed her from behind. A bag made of fabric came covering her face and she was whisked away.
Urenna had been captured by slave hunters.
What happened next?
Remember, we can be your writer.October 6, 2021 at 7:18 pm #54399
The slave girl 2
As one of her captors carried her on his shoulder, Urenna was screaming, kicking and grabbing the air in a bid to free herself. But her captor was way stronger and held her firmly as he moved into the thicker part of the forest. The cloth bag used to cover her face effectively muffled her screams and prevented her from being heard. But even if she was allowed to scream, there was nobody around to come to her rescue. Hastily, her captors carried her into the thick forest where their colleagues were waiting and guarding the people they had captured earlier.
Back in the palace, there was commotion. The sun had set, dusk had emerged, darkness was taking over, yet there was no sign of Urenna. The worst part was that none of the guards and maids was able to give a valid information concerning her way about. Her mother sat on the floor of the Obi crying out her eyes. As she cried, she begged the gods of their land to spare her daughter’s life and take hers instead. “Ogwugwu Chi na eche ala Ude, biko were ndu m ma kpolatara m otu mkpuru anya m ji ahu uzo (Ogwugwu the god of our land, please take my life instead but bring back the only eye with which I see)”, she cried as she sat on the floor of the Obi.
Urenna’s father just paced up and down his Obi with his face as mean as it could be. As he paced, he hit his’ Nza’ in his palm and bit his lips at intervals. After pacing for a while, he screamed “ndi iro m anwaa mu (my enemies have dared me)”. He believed that his daughter’s disappearance was the handwork of his enemies who never wanted his progress. After a while, he stopped pacing and sat on his throne. While sitting, he thought for some time before summoning the guards who were all lined up in front of his Obi waiting for his instructions.
He ordered the guards to lock up the maids who were supposed to be Urenna’s personal details before charging them with going to every nook and cranny of the village in search of his daughter. He further threatened that if they fail to find her (Urenna) before dusk the next day, each of them and their families would be dealt with. The guards set out immediately in search of their princess.
The news of the princess’s disappearance hit the village and everyone was on the lookout. Ikem stormed the palace the next morning and requested to be included in the search team. When he was told that the search team had already left, he felt weak and collapsed onto one of the wooden benches in the king’s Obi. As time went by with no sign of Urenna and no news from the search team, the fear around the palace increased. The tension in the village increased as well. In the evening of that day, the guards came back. When the Queen, Urenna’s mother saw that they didn’t come back with her daughter, she collapsed to the floor and lost consciousness. Her maids rushed to her and started reviving her. The king wasn’t looking good either. He knew that not seeing his daughter with the guards meant she was nowhere in the village. He sat and waited for the report of the search.
The head of the guards walked up to the king and gave him Urenna’s waist bead which they found at the point of her abduction. Immediately he (the guard) told the king where they found the bead, he (the king) screamed. He realized what that meant. He knew that the area was the dreaded den of the slave hunters. It was then that the reality of the situation dawned on him. He then realized that his chances of ever setting his eyes on his again was almost zero. He wept silently. Ikem and everyone around started mourning. The maids threw themselves on the ground and cried while the guards and the chiefs shook their heads moodily. The villagers started trooping into the palace in condolence. It was a big mourning period in the palace.
Urenna and others captured by the slave hunters were bound like animals with shackles around their necks and chains on both hands and feet. They were made to trek a long distance in a single file. They were not allowed to rest unless when their captor needed to rest. They were many of them (the captives) and they were being transported to the slave camp from where they’d be sold to other slave dealers. They were only fed with water and that was only when they rested. The women were bound together and moved in front while the men walked behind them. Any of the slaves who grew tired and started dragging was whipped with long horse-whips. Some of the fragile ones collapsed and died on the way and their captors just unchained them and left their corpses to rot. What an inhumane way humans treated fellow humans.
After a few days of trekking under the most unimaginable conditions, they arrived at the slave camp in the middle of nowhere. The camp was guarded by angry looking men who were carrying long sticks with butty edges (guns). Many human cages built with metals were all over the camp. Some of the cages were empty while some were filled with humans. On arrival, the women were led into one of the empty cages while the men were led into another. As their captors were removing their shackles before pushing them into the cage, one of the male slaves tried to run off and a loud bang was heard. He (the slave) fell to ground instantly and blood started gushing out of his head. It was then the other slaves knew what the long sticks were for.
As Urenna stood in line waiting for her turn to be unbound, her eyes went to the men’s cage and she saw something she never imagined. There stood her Omenka waiting for his turn to be unbound as well. He was equally captured while he waited for Urenna. Their eyes met and shock registered across their faces. They had moved from being slaves of love to real slaves.
What happened next?
TOCHUKWU ANOZIEOctober 6, 2021 at 7:19 pm #54400
The slave girl 3
Their eyes were fixed one each other with many thoughts running through their minds. Omenka was worst hit by the reality of the moment. Seeing Urenna, the love of his life in chains like an animal broke his heart greatly. He was okay with his own sufferings but seeing his princess being pushed like criminals were pushed in their village was a hurting sight for him to behold. He felt an instant urge to fight their captors and free Urenna but the thought of the long sticks and what they could do to humans deterred him. He took his eyes away from Urenna and wept in silence.
Urenna was equally devastated by the sight of Omenka in chains. While she sat in the cage with the others, her mind went to all Omenka had suffered for the sake of his love for her. She remembered how he was dismissed from the palace because of her and the few times he was beaten by the guards at the instructions of the king, her father. She also remembered how badly his family had been treated just because of his involvement with her. After remembering all the hardships Omenka had gone through for her sake, she wept bitterly. In her mind, she concluded that she was the reason why Omenka was captured and swore to free him or die trying. How she was going to achieve that was unknown to her.
They stayed in the slave camp for a while before the other slave dealers came to purchase them. Before the slave dealers came, the white man who owned the slave camp arrived. On his arrival, he paid the slave hunters who captured Urenna, Omenka and the new slaves. Some of them (the hunters) were paid with pieces of mirrors while some others were paid with foreign fabrics. Another set was paid with lengths of stock fish. These material payments were for capturing and subjecting their brothers and sisters into utter hardship; people they spoke the same language with and people who shared the same skin color with them. How lowly we value brotherhood and humanity. After receiving their payments, they left to hunt more slaves.
While at the camp, the slaves were fed once a day. The foods were majorly boiled yam and red oil which were handed to them in leaves. Out of hunger, most of them (the slaves) ate the leaves after eating the supposed food. They stayed in the cages with nothing sheltering them from the weather. The sun heated on them when it shone and the rain drenched them when it rained. They were made to defecate in their cages and stayed with their excreta. Some of them got sick and died. The other slaves, the males were made to dig shallow graves in which the dead ones were buried. I’m quite sure that even domestic animals were not treated this way, yet my African brothers, sponsored by the Europeans treated their brothers and sisters in that manner.
When the slave dealers who were mostly white men arrived, the started bargaining for the slaves as though they were commodities. These dealers were the ones who would take them (the slaves) across the Atlantic to the western countries where they’d be subjected to servitude all the days of their lives. Where they lost their identities and were force to take the new identities their masters gave them. Where they were beaten, raped stripped of their natural rights and forced to forget the gods of their land in order to embrace the religion of their captors. Where they were objectified and used as gifts among the whites. Where what they believed in mattered no more. Where they were regarded as animals and sometimes used as games for the hunting pleasure of their masters. Oh slavery, what did you not do to Africa?
As the bargaining took place, each slave was brought out and bargained for until the dealers reached a price. They started with the male slaves before proceeding to the females’ cage. Luckily, before they’d got to Omenka, they had got the number of male slaves they needed. At the females’ cage, they started bringing out the slaves and bargaining for them one after the other. When Urenna was brought out, the owner of the camp ordered for her to be taken back. Even when the visiting slave dealers offered a higher price for her, he (the owner) insisted she was not for sale and she was led back into the cage. After purchasing the number of slaves they wanted, the dealers left with their newly purchased ‘commodities’ through the water ways.
In the afternoon of that day, the intensity of the sun was very high and it shone directly on the slaves as usual. That evening, three more of the slaves; two females and a male whose bodies couldn’t take the hellish treatment anymore died. They must have died from malnutrition, too much exposure to harsh weather, infections from their untreated wounds or any other causes. There were many probable causes of the deaths of those individuals who were once someone’s beloved before they were turned into beasts. As usual, some of the male slaves were forced to dig the graves of their comrades. Omenka was counted among those who’d dig the graves. He and others were led out of the cage and guarded with arms as they moved to the burial site carrying the remains of their fallen comrades.
Walking to the burial site, they walked past a tent which served as the abode of the owner of the slave camp. As Omenka walked past the tent, he heard a muffled cry from the tent. Instinctively, he looked into the tent and froze instantly. On the floor laid his Urenna, pinned down by the bulky white man as he forcefully had carnal knowledge of her body. He was raping her while she cried in agony. Even in her pains, she wasn’t allowed to cry. He (the white man) stuffed her mouth with clothes while he enjoyed the pleasure of her body. She only shed tears which spoke many unsaid words of pains. What a brutal world we live in?
What happened next?
TOCHUKWU ANOZIEOctober 6, 2021 at 7:20 pm #54401
The slave girl 4 (the end)
The next morning, Urenna was led out of the tent by the guards. The white man followed behind them, smoking cigar and having the look of satisfaction on his face. She could barely stand as she was taken to the cage. On her face were expressions of hurt, agony, Heartbreak and pain. There were dried patches of blood on her legs. She had been forcefully deflowered in that ungodly and inhumane act. She couldn’t cry anymore, she just moped like someone who had lost touch with the environment.
Inside the cage, some of the women rallied around her in sympathy. They knew what has happened. The elderly ones attended to her torn genital as much as they could. They also consoled her and assured her that the gods of their land would rescue them from the hands of their captors. But with all the pity, sympathy and encouragement happening around Urenna, she didn’t say a word. She only moped at them as they attended to her.
Omenka on the other hand had been crying out his eyes since he saw that heart wrenching scene. From that night until the next morning, the picture of what he saw didn’t leave his mind. The picture of his love lying helplessly under the bulky monster became resonant in his memory. He thought of many possible ways to make the rapist pay for the crime he committed against Urenna and humanity in general. But all his plans hit a wall as he was still in chains and couldn’t go anywhere near the white man. He felt hurt, so hurt that he couldn’t look at Urenna when she was been led out of the ‘slaughter house’. He blamed himself for her predicament and wept bitterly.
This rape became a frequent occurrence. Anytime the white man needed to ease off, he ordered the guards to bring Urenna to his tent. After that, Urenna would be returned to the cage. As time went by, Urenna started showing signs of enjoying the act. She’d moan and hold the white man as he banged away his life. The white man stopped stuffing her mouth with clothes. He also started giving her preferential treatments. He made sure she was well fed and cleaned up. She practically became the white man’s mistress only that she still slept in the cage.
In the cage, some of her fellow inmates started envying her while others hated her. That accused her of abandoning their spirit of oneness and pleasurably associating with the foreigner who had held her people captive. They were right. Urenna no longer showed signs of being forced into the act. She rather showed signs of enjoying the act and all the preferential treatments she received. She no longer cared about her fellow slaves. Sometimes, her moans could be heard outside as she enjoyed the thrusts of the bulky white man. Yes, they were right. She had lost the sight of their pains and rather chose to enjoy herself with someone who should be her sworn enemy.
Omenka was devastated by this development. Seeing Urenna coming out of the tent with smiles on her face broke his heart. He couldn’t understand why Urenna would accept to be a sex object to someone she should hate. That was not the Urenna he thought he knew. His Urenna would rather die than willingly go to bed with such a man. Whatever happened to his Urenna was a mystery to him. He lost the zeal to fight and resigned to fate.
One morning, the slaves woke up to a surprise. Urenna and the white man emerged from the tent with Urenna holding a knife by the throat of the white man. As they stood in front of the tent, Urenna ordered the guards to drop their sticks (guns) else she’d slit their Master’s throat. They refused and Urenna slightly made a cut on the white man’s throat. He (the white man) quickly made a hand gesture asking the guards to drop their weapons. Urenna ordered them (the guards) to open the male cage and free ten slaves. After that was done, the freed slaves took the guards hostage and bound them on both hands and feet. They proceeding to freeing all the other slaves, both males and females.
When Urenna was sure that the guards had been incapacitated and the slaves had been freed, she addressed them in their language. She told them that taking over the camp and freeing them had been her plans all along and she did what she did to make their captors believe she had accepted her situation. She begged them for forgive her methods as she couldn’t think of any other way. While she spoke, Omenka was dumbfounded. All the time he thought Urenna had abandoned him, she was actually planning on rescuing him. He hated himself for not seeing what she was doing. He felt bad.
After addressing them, Urenna took her time in butchering the white man. As she stabbed the knife deep into his body, she cried. She remembered all the pains she felt, all the time she begged him to stop, the suffocation she felt as he enjoyed himself, the times she collapsed from excessive pains and all she had to endure. She kept stabbing him repeatedly until Omenka came and held her. She collapsed her already blood soaked body into his arms and cried uncontrollably. After that, they put the guards into a cage and set them ablaze before leaving the camp. As they matched out of the camp, the shouts of pains from the burning guards were heard. They were tasting their own medicine.
It took Omenka and Urenna a few days to find their way home. On their arrival, the community went agog. No one had been able to escape from the slave dealers once captured. The king threw a great feast to celebrate the miraculous return of his daughter. It was indeed the greatest celebration the village had ever witnessed. Their joy knew no bounds.
About two weeks after their return, Urenna fell sick. In the course of her treatment, it was discovered that she was pregnant. She had escaped from her captors but she took something of theirs home. A baby.
What should she do with the pregnancy?
You can be the judge
Remember, we can be your writer.