A very long time ago,
At a time where but few memories can still go
A maiden was a slave in a distant land
She lived to daily labour with her hands
I know not of the state of her mind,
Or whether her master was cruel or kind
This was a moment in time,
When men journeyed all the time,
To distant lands across tempestuous seas,
With a gospel of faith and hope and peace,
For the heathen souls and ‘uncivil’ tribes,
That they may learn of a Saviour...
In these opening verses of the new e-book by Ikenna Chinedu Okeh, the author paints the backdrop against which this narrative verse unfolds.
Ikenna Okeh’s writing has an airy, picturesque touch to it. It is very easy to read. Okeh recounts a fictional tale of local people, tribesmen, at a pivotal moment in history.
The story unfolds from the viewpoint of single young woman who after intially being led away into slavery, returns to her homeland. At this point the reader might expect a recollection of the horrific life she must have led in days of slavery but the author refrains from that. Instead he keeps his distance and lets events unfold in a seemingly casual manner. In doing so Okeh sets the tone for what in my opinion is a very intriguing novel.
Without giving away the plot 'A Tale To Twist' is multi layered story. One of people in times of change, the injection of foreign elements into local society and a recount of how people deal with that change. At the surface level a colloquial story. Pleasant, funny, endearing. But if one is aware of the actual historic events one cannot ignore these and 'A Tale To Twist' becomes a metaphor for what happened on a much wider scale to Africa and Africans at the time Christianity and foreign rule were injected into their societies.
When today shall be told,
They who tell it might be so bold
Perhaps we should not tell it
We should efface it; for our pride, it won’t be fit
We won’t, after all, be the first
Other peoples have done so to appear at their very best; Hence lunatics have been painted heroes,
And noble ones taken the hind and tainted rows
But whether or not we decide to lay bare our shame, With us, things shall never remain the same.