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Flash Back: What You Need To Know About The “Death  and the King’s Horseman” 


In 1946, the ancient city of Oyo in the Yoruba land of South west of Nigeria, Oba Siyanbola Oladigbolu, the reigning Alaafin of Oyo died. Although the king was buried that night as custom demanded, his Horseman, Olokun Esin Jinadu was also Obligated to commit ritual suicide within thirty days in order to lead the way for the kings favourite horse and dog as they go through the passage of transition, which, according to Yoruba onto logy, links the worlds of the living and the dead . At the time of this event, however, Nigeria was a colony of the British empire.


So when the then District Oicer, Captain J.A. Mackenzie, realized what the ritual was really about, he thought the idea of a man killing himself in the name of a ritual was savage and barbaric and therefore he prevented Olokun Esin Jinadu from performing the ritual suicide.


This is an abomination according to Yoruba belief in the eicacy of ritual, which pre suppose that an important ritual sacrifice must be performed at the appropriate time, in the appropriate place, by the appropriate person, and in the appropriate manner, other wise in appropriate occurrences which follow. It is to avert the unpredictable and inevitable calamity that murana , Olokun  Esin Jinadu’s last born son took his own life.

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