Comment on mythology and dream in Let Me Die Alone.
One aspect John Kolosa Kargbo treated with clarity in his play, Let Me Die Alone, is how integral mythology and dream are to the African cosmos. The playwright provides ample examples of myths in the play and the significance of dream in the African world.
To start with Gbanya’s premonitory dream at the beginning of the play, his dream is symbolic, a signification of his death. When a monarch dreams of his ancestors, what this means, according to popular opinion, is that he or she will soon join their ancestors. In other words, such dream is a harbinger of what’s to come, a precursor to the death of the royalty.
As have been proven right in the play, this African belief about dreams is not just another African myth. It has survived the test of time and become firmly ingrained. Dreams are more than illusory; they pass a message, hold a meaning. In the case of Gbanya, his dream foreshadows his helpless death. The logical sequence of Gbanya’s death seems to confirm this and shows the premium value Africans place on the influence of dreams on one’s reality.
First, Gbanya sees his ancestors in his dream and in the next sequence, he is murdered by his henchmen. The dream, in effect, forewarns Gbanya of the proximity of his death.
Moving away from the concept of dream, the play has in abundance myths. It is however pertinent to note that these myths are significant to the African spirituality. One such myth is that one can attain longevity and prosperity through human sacrifice. This explains why Musa harvests the organs of children for this sole purpose — an apt demonstration of what has gained currency in some African communities today. People indulge ruthlessly in human sacrifice in order to amass wealth, proceeds from the ritual exercise.
The myth of human sacrifice for personal upliftment is one evidently acknowledged conventionally as effective. It is without difficulty that Ndapi, Jilo and other villagers believe the lie they are fed that Yoko has buried Jeneba alive so as to court the favour of the white colonialist. This shows how much the society is steeped in the myth of human sacrifice and every other form of voodoo.
Another myth presented in the play, absurd and nonsensical, is one that says or mandates that Yoko can not conceive because she joined Poro Cult. It is logical that she can’t conceive because she has no man to herself. That is understandable. But what stops her from re-marrying so she can conceive? Is it because she is a chief, a position reserved for men? Or because of the Poro Cult?
There is also the general misconception about women’s capability to fill into leadership roles. Gbanya, owing to the conventional belief, is of the conviction that women are weak and can therefore not handle the affairs of a troubled state. This is one myth Yoko disproves with her adroit and effective leadership.
Also in the long roll of myths is the embellishment of Gbeni’s vengeance, its capability to exact revenge on Musa and Lamboi. This, as it turns, might be just another myth. There is no Gbeni. Where is this Gbeni when Musa and Lamboi were scheming and plotting behind Yoko’s back? Gbeni might be just a non-existent creature, obviously powerless, a figment of the people’s imagination. But the people choose to believe, venerate and fear it nonetheless. Leaving Musa and Lamboi in the still hands of Gbeni might just mean that the two would walk scot-free, without a tiniest scratch for their misdeeds.
In essence, Let Me Die Alone subtly portrays these myths and the position of dream in the African society; how of course, these myths have gained validity among the rustic people of Mendeland. Mendeland, we must know, is a microcosm of a larger picture, which is Africa.