Opportunity Cost in Flora Nwapa’s Efuru: Refinancing Efuru’s Inherited Wealth through Uhamiri
Our essay continues the critical discussion of Flora Nwapa’s treatment of the Ogene family’s involvement in the slave trade and domestic slavery in Efuru, as first articulated in Taiwo Adetunju Osinubi’s 2014 article “Provincializing Slavery: Atlantic Economies in Flora Nwapa’s Efuru”. We agree with Osinubi’s reading of the compromised liberation that Efuru represents and how patriarchal structures are upheld throughout most of the novel. However, we argue that Nwapa begins to outline an important shift towards her novel’s end: from a patriarchal, colonial order back to a matriarchal, precolonial one – at least for the heroine. We support this assertion by revisiting the relationship between Efuru and Ogea to point out its ambivalences, paying close attention to their dynamic at the book’s conclusion. Moreover, we contend that this change is most evident when Efuru is chosen by Uhamiri. We maintain that the wealth Uhamiri bestows provides a way out of paternalistic structures, as it serves as an antidote to the patriarchal inheritance by ensuring that Efuru has a source of income independent from her paternal family’s blood money.