Events
Masters of the Confluence

"Masters of the Confluence"
by Nduka Onwuegbute


Masters of the Confluence

A Synopsis
See the Wikipedia Backdrop to this story

In colonial West Africa, the prevalent justice systems left much to be desired. Retribution was brutal, heavy and swift. Leaving out cannibalism, slavery and capital punishment were the norm. The ruling elite needed everyone else on a pretty tight leash.

Nigeria was no different. From the meanders and tributaries of the Niger delta, criminals were sent to the mythical labyrinths of Arochukwu, or shipped across the Atlantic. The established empires flourished, enriching themselves on other people’s freedom, or lack of it. No one dared to challenge your place in society.

This turn of the 19th century story of Onitsha and his cousin on the quest to re-habilitate themselves in the eyes of their children. Onitsha's dynasty takes us through wars, the business of slavery, political uprising and romance. But caught in the middle, are the women and children. Anashi struggles to keep her dignity by fending off the two love-struck cousins who must kill each other to possess her.

Unlike his subtle play, Drums That Dance In The Dark, Nduka Onwuegbute’s “Masters of the Confluence” is a brutal revelation of man’s quest to regain political voice.


Images and Videos of The Niger river delta


Black Mamba: Snakes are not only deadly poisonous in Nigeria. They come with the  
myth of bad luck proclaiming doom. Even though commonplace, in Africa, snakes have a tendency to be people-shy so keep away from human societies.  
The admission of any kind of snake, especially a black one is feared. You can understand why Wawa goes crazy when he finds out... MBT Tusk: Onitsha's ancestral horn, reclaimed from the Idu Palace, might have  
been hewn from the tusk of a bull, warthog or even elephant. It acts as the main clarion used to summon the people of Utu in readiness for  
war MBT UDARA: Easily mistaken to be the yellow mombin, but this fruit is different. The  
mombin has one rough stony seed; the Udara on the other hand has several shiny dark brown seed which are used for games by children. The outer  
membrane of the udara fruit is yellow and although not poisonous is rarely eaten, except by goat
s. The creamy white sap is sticky with a sweet tangy after taste and the flesh of the fruit when chewed with the patience of the turtle will  
turn to gum. Find out why Captain Hawk is thrilled.
Black Mamba MBT advert Tusk MBT advert Udara
Play by Nduka Onwuegbute UGANI: a catfish typically habiting in open rivers. It is not to be confused with  
the Atuma which packs more flavour and taste. The latter lives in wooden caves and grooves in swampy muddy waters. KOLA NUT: This seed forms the bedrock of African entertainment. People do not eat  
or drink with the enemy. Breaking kola with a visitor/guest shows mutual friendship and trust. EKWE: a two-tone wooden musical instrument used by most Ibo speaking people of  
south eastern Nigerian. Besides being a messaging tool, a skilled drummer can play an enjoyable tune which is enjoyed by the community. Masters of the Confluence
ugani kola nut ekwe
Book cover: Masters of the Confluence UKWATA: a festive open faced masquerade. The headgear itself is a flat board  
with handles, covered with fond tendrils. On top this decorated board would be a bird of prey to show the people's prowess over nature's  
beasts. CONFLUENCE: although the picture shows a delta, it is actually the  
setting of the novel. Within the delta the Niger breaks in two distinct river Nun and Forcados. The magnificence of the two rivers sparkling  
against the other is a sight to behold; one dark, clear & ironically uninviting, the other muddy with a clammy taste. OTAKIRI: a common licensed masquerade paraded by young boys on the prank. The  
Otakiri garment is completely made out of fresh green banana leaves. It is a cheap imitation of the more sacred and revered Mmanwu which is  
not even allowed to be photographed. Availability: Feb, 2010
Book Advert Ukwata Confluence Otakiri Book Advert
A community is damned never to dance AGIDIGBO: Akuma's instrument of choice, the agidigbo (mbira) is a music box  
with flat metal strings. Agidigbos differ greatly in shape size and construction. However, the one thing they all have in common is the wood  
and metal strips used in making them. It is also known as lamelaphone. YAM BARN: an open silo for preserving yam tubers on open walls. This leguminous  
vegetable is rich in carbohydrates. mostly propagated by the men folk because of the intensive labour required and delicate care, the women  
handle less demanding crops like cassava. ATUMA: an oil rich catfish that dwells in holes in swampy muddy waters. It  
is known in the western hemisphere as bluecat. Malleah and his family take on the community
agidigbo barn atuma
DUGOUT: commonly called canoes by dwellers along the Niger, the dugout is a  
very important transportation vessel not only for human beings but haulage as well. A typically large canoe will hold more than one thousand  
large yam tubers, albeit precariously. A smaller imitation is made from softwood which encourages buoyancy even when capsized. LOGO IGBA DRUM: these are familiar instruments across the world. They form the  
bedrock of African music. have you read LOGO IGBO HUT: The Obi in ibo culture is often misunderstood. The obi is actually  
the private quarters of the head of the household, or even clan. It is not to be confused with the sleeping quarters as Ibo titled men  
entertain their guests in the obi. Children and women are generally discouraged from entering the obi except when called to perform  
hospitality functions.
Dugout MBT Logo Igba Drum MBT Logo Igbo Huts


"Masters of the Confluence" : an excerpt...

They all had their jobs, and they all knew what to do.

Epem was to lead the glistening team, ensuring a blinding sparkle. Inenere’s gang had the enviable, yet sacrificial, task of turning up the heat as the river rushed past. She was proud to be honoured with the task of spawning her innards, feeding her millions of eggs as Anashi wandered into her presence. Oboy and his fellow young were to make sure as much of Inenere’s pride ended up in Anashi’s moth, enough to entice her and feed that emptiness she would suddenly find, yet mindful not to choke her. He was to hurl missiles of Inenere’s egg , reaching target, some deliberately missing, thereby creating the want, feeding the need. Ojashi was to gather the acrobats who would propel themselves out of the deep and tumble down Anashi’s back, yet skipping off just in time to avoid the contours reaching her rump. That job was Ejow’s. Ojashi and his army were not allowed to prick her with their serrated hooks either, that was another job especially reserved for Ukow.

But the ultimate job no fish dared to want, yet envious of the one fish allowed it, was to knock their queen up close and personal on her chest. This was the most delicate job of all. This one job - the last task as it happened- would determine the success or failure of the entire mission. Epem’s glitter, Inenere’s sacrifice and all other missiles and projectiles would come to nought if this one last job went awry. Touch her too soon and it might just as well be a high end intelligence wasted on a fool, touch her too late and the ship would have set sail anyway. Touch her too gently and she may easily miss it in all the excitement and raging waters that was going on. Touch her too hard and she may not live to bear witness to it ever again. This was a matter of life and death, this job belonged to Atuma.

Atuma knew, only too well, that part of the touch was to inflict the right amount of pain Erieri would have been the right choice but she easily excited herself about lesser things and ran the risk shocking Anashi to an unplanned watery grave. Atuma had been in Erieri’s tutelage, mastering the art of re-charging his electrical impulses just so he could discharge some of it on Anashi’s left chest. This was the right spot because deep and cushioned behind her delicate breast was Anashi’s heart and the common objective of the entire mission was to entice Anashi into the deep, feeding her appetite for pleasure while strumming her with pain. And the ultimate pain was the electric shock of an angry eel to hit her on the left breast. This shock was to be just enough to pleasure her, but also hurt her, hurt her in a way she would want more. And when Anashi reached for more pleasure and subsequent pain, they would sweep her out of her depths.

The job at hand was no ordinary mission, it was a simple one: kidnap Anashi and crown her their queen.

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