Tatafo ~ The Inkwell Prompt #84

Tatafo was confident that one day his story would change. Enough of all the sufferings he had had to go through. It wasn't his first time having such thoughts. Anytime he lacked one thing or the other, he would reminisce about the good old days. Those days that his mothers, Akanchawa was always around to hold him, feed him and care for him.

As a child who had to walk on one leg, leaping. The polio disease had hit on him and his mother's inability to get proper medical attention rendered one if his leg incapacitated to walk perfectly.


S Migaj

One thing that developed Tatafo's confidence was how his mother, Akanchawa had called him "my king". Maybe it was a way to pacify him for her negligence to get the proper medical attention. That was his thought though and he lived with it until his adulthood.

He never understood why his mother would have to call him king until the demise of King Ajagungbale, the one who reigned in Okiti for almost six decades. He was installed as King when he was twenty years old. His reign was peaceful though, only that the people had to pay taxes through their noses.

Sooner than the search for a new king began, all the high and mighty in the town had shown interest in the throne. Despite their interests, only the divination by the oracle would choose a credible king according to the root of ruling houses.

Tatafo went about his daily work. He worked as a silo manager on the biggest cocoa farm in the region. His duty was to ensure the stock in and out of the warehouse was properly documented and that he did very well. Over the years, he had ensured to keep his name rather than pursuing vain things.

Often he had been pressured to sign a document or two to falsify the records on the stock brought into the silo but Tatafo had stood his ground, he never obliged the evil gesture.

On one occasion, he was mulled to the end of the farm so that other workers could cart away some bags of cocoa for their self-aggrandizement. Tatafo was not aware of their evil act, he only ignorantly moved towards the other end of the farm while they carried out this dastardly act.

The farm owner was so disappointed when he noticed that some of his workers had been stealing from him. He invited the police who arrested all the workers, including Tatafo.

All efforts to release them proved abortive. The other workers refused to own up to having carried out some bags of cocoa from the silo unofficially.

While he was still remanded, the kingmakers consulted the Ifa oracle to know who the next king of Okiti. The oracle spoke through the priest of the shrine that the next king will come from the Awolumate ruling house. This is the lineage where Tatafo came from.

The Awolumate ruling house was known for being patriotic but poor. As a result, the kingmakers thought of selling off the right to a more popular family for a huge sum. All these were happening without the knowledge of the people.

On the fourth day of their arrest, two of the culprits were heard by the officer in charge of the case that Tatafo was only being implicated in the crime. It took another twenty-four hours to get him released. By this time, the arrangement to sell off the kingship right had begun.

When Tatafo got home to see his mother who had been traumatized by his arrest, the kingmakers were already far in the negotiations. The man who had an interest in becoming the next King came from Enugu where he plies his trade and paid the kingmakers heavily.

The initiation process into kingship started and usually, the community dwellers in their multitude would follow the kingmakers who would lead the king in the making to the Ifa shrine. Tatafo was also in the procession just to witness how it was done.

On arriving at the shrine, the priest poured a libation on the candidate to confirm that the oracle had chosen him. Smoke-like steam oozed from his head as the people moved back in fear. The kingmakers were startled.

"Taboo!*

"From whence did you get him?"

The Ifa priest was disappointed knowing that the wrong candidate, one who did not emerge from any of the ruling houses in Okiti, was chosen by the kingmakers.

"Corruption everywhere!" "The gods of our fathers can not be deceived". " They know what they want."

The priest spoke of the prowess of their ancestors, revealing how the kingmakers sold their rites of being custodians of the culture of the town but failed.

As the priest kept speaking, walking through the multitude, he collided with Tatafo, then stared at him.

"Whose son are you?"

Tatafo feared for his life. He was not sure of what to say. Maybe the priest is angry that he collided with him.

"I….I am Ta-ta-f…" He stammered as he tried to tell the priest his name. The priest saw the fear in him and shouted the fear out of him. "Speak up son."

Tatafo told the priest about the son of whom he is. He held him by the hand to the shrine where he was blessed and crowned king over the lands and people of Okiti.

One of the onlookers who witnessed Tatafo being crowned king, ran to Akanchawa's place to break the news to her. It was the greatest day of her life. Now, everyone would refer to her as queen mother.

She thought to herself.

"One minute ago, Tatafo was in police custody, a few minutes later, he was crowned king." What a world!

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