Memorable Quotes from Femi Osofisan’s “Women of Owu”


Women of Owu by Femi Osofisan is a play about the destruction of the ancient Owu Kingdom after seven years of siege by the allied forces of Ife, Ijebu, and the Oyo mercenaries. The city is burnt to rubble, the men and children are killed, the shrines of the gods are desecrated, and the surviving widows are displaced from the ruins of the city into slavery.

In this post, we shall examine the memorable quotes from Femi Osofisan’s Women of Owu.


Women of Owu Cover Page

“Nowadays, when the strong fight the weak, it’s called a liberation war to free the weak from oppression.”


Woman (Page 8)

“When fate decided to strike you down, what amount of crying can help?”

Erelu (Page 10)

“It’s us, not the gods, who create war. It’s us, we human beings, who can kill it.”

Chorus Leader (Page 15)

“Some words are such that when we hear them, all the light inside us dies at once and our smiling daylight turns into the bleakness of night.”

Orisaye (Page 27)

“Insanity is the drug of misery.”

Chorus (Page 28)

“Death is sweet, we think. But it easier to talk of it than to welcome it. We do not know what is on the other side, whether it is better or worse than here. Whereas even at its most bitter, life offers hope at least, which death does not.”

Erelu (Page 42)

“Even in misfortune, which levels everyone, the portions are unequal.”

Chorus Leader (Page 42)

“Do like reed in the bush. Stand and strut in good weather. But when it storms, learn also to bend.”

Erelu (Page 42)

“When you have lost a war, you have lost, and there’s nothing you can do about it but accept the consequences.”

Gesinde (Page 44)

“An artist has only his dreams. He has no power.”

Maye (Page 52)

“When Mother Goat nods at the sonorous sound of the drum, she is not dancing! It is because each time it sounds, she recognizes the wailing of the leather!”

Iyunloye (Page 55)

“It is the fate of the conquered to toil for the strong!”

Erelu (Page 55)

“How can you claim to be strong, when your minds are so feeble?”

Erelu (Page 59)

“A father can only chew for a child; he cannot swallow for her.”

Erelu, when possessed by the spirit of Anlugbua (Page 66)

“It is the rulers who write history – It is the hunters who compose the story of the hunt – It is the revellers, not the slaughtered cows, who record the fable of the feast!”

Chorus Leader 2 and 1 (Page 66)

“Then the deer must train themselves to seize the gun from their hunters! The cows to take over the narration of their own story.”

Erelu, when possessed by the spirit of Anlugbua (Page 66)


Osofisan, F. (2006) Women of Owu. University Press PLC.

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