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.