A Call for Change: Traditional African Value and Modern Africa in the Play "the Broken Calabash" by Tess Osonye Onwueme

  • G Worugji


The Broken Calabash, is a play that, explores, the themes of modernity against the decadent traditional African value system (of the caste order, where the individual conviction of genuine love for another person reign supreme), in spite of, traditional attitude of discrimination against the out caste. Ona, a female undergraduate and an only daughter and child of her parents, is an Idegbe. Idegbe is the name given to an only daughter and child of a marriage in Ogwashi Uku clan of the Delta State. She is expected not to be married out, but, to remain at home to propagate their lineage. However, she has the choice of marrying another female; into the family, to take up her role of child bearing. Her modern concept of freedom of will, independence and individualism render this alternative unsavory. To Ona, marrying Diaku an “Osu”, (an Osu is an outcast, a person, not recognized as a bonafide member of a community he claims to come from, he has no freedom to participate or associate with other members of his claimed community. He is dedicated to serve the gods) would help her succeed in breaking this ossified and decadent tradition. This paper highlights these issues and argues for the freedom of choice for the female, in support of Onwueme’s views. It is hoped that, readers, especially the traditionally minded ones will come to terms with this innovation. The paper suggests that, it is time to do away with those unprogressive traditional norms that deny the individual the right to choice and association as a person. Therefore, women must have a right to choice in the society, for the purpose of collective and sustainable societal development.

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eISSN: 1813-2227