By Japhet Davidson
One of the activities that bring families together, teach, educate, and entertain many homes in times past is the act of storytelling. Telling folktales used to be a very important activity in the home.
The practice started long before the advent of formal education, electricity, radio or television and computers, in this country. Most families sit together to tell folktales to children or both the young or old alike in the household or within the community, particularly after they have returned from work and eaten their evening meals.
But that have disappeared from many homes as it has been taken over by the so-called westernisation, where TV, home videos, football, and presently BBNaija. And the effects are evident with the breakdown of norms in many homes. Though many organisations and even government have tried to revive this, but one person that is bent on changing the narrative is no other person than Dr Ejinne Okoroafo.
Ejinne Okoroafor, the Oguta born ardent storyteller who has so far published 6 books in her new book titled Broken Promise and other stories bring to the fore her storytelling prowess. In the 87 page book published by Trafford Publishing, Ejinne tries to sustain the fast dying genre of short stories, as she pays reverence to her beloved hometown, Oguta.
In the first story titled Broken Promise; which is the main title of the book, Ejinne tells the story of the young Gogo who fell in love with Maryam and they promised to spend the rest of the lives together. But, things changed when Gogo travelled to US and was unable to find his rhythm, and back home, Maryam who was pregnant before he travelled gave birth to a baby girl Kaka. Gogo’s dream of bringing Maryam and Kaka to US did not materialise due to immigrant status and back home in Oguta, Maryam who could no longer continue with shattered dreams committed suicide.
Kizito and I are another interesting love story set in her native Oguta. It is all about how Kizito stole the heart of Anucha. How the duo struggled amidst challenges but was able to cement their love at last. Pension-Plan Nurse is another interesting story narrated by little Anyabuishi about his parents Atuokwu and nurse Ntianu. It was a case of a troubled home as the breadwinner all of a sudden became a dependant. Atuokwu’s failure to manage his present state and acknowledge the contributions of his wife forced him to take bad advice. But as fate would have it when he was about to actualise his evil plan he fell sick and was rushed to the hospital where he realised himself.
Finally, Nwabuife is the poignant orphan story about Nwayibuife, who happens to find herself in the house of Oyibonanu, a distressed woman who was struggling to survive in a polygamous family. How did Nwayibuife come to live with her, why was she not able to have children, how were they treated in the family and other cultures and tradition of Oguta were what the master storyteller narrated in the chapter.
Written in very simple English, reading this author is like reading Chinua Achebe, especially when it comes to giving painstaking attention to the details of Igbo culture.’Ejine Okoroafor, in the book while joining others to sustain the fast dying genre of short stories, pays reverence to her beloved hometown, Oguta, and tells the immigrant’s story.
A masterful storyteller, with her unique and unassuming style, the author easily holds the reader spellbound through a riveting love story, a heart-rendering broken promise, the poignant orphan story, and the universal immigrant saga. They are chronicles of the present time and of the old, of love and betrayal, of arrogance and humility. They are epiphanies of our lives.