Chapter Sixteen Summary of “Efuru”


Ajanupu is seen encouraging Efuru to take heart. It has been four weeks now that Gilbert has not returned home. He did not even attend his father-in-law’s burial. Efuru is brooding and feels like committing suicide. 

Nkoyeni has given birth to a bouncing baby boy. Gilbert was sent for but wouldn’t come home until two months later. 

He refuses to say anything about his whereabouts, not even an apology for his offense. 


Ajanupu sends her little daughter, Difu, to summon Efuru. When Efuru comes, she tells her what she heard in the market. 

“All I gathered was that Eneberi was jailed at Onicha for three months. What he did, I cannot tell,” says Ajanupu (p. 209). 

At first, Efuru feels sorry for Eneberi, but later feels angry at him for hiding things like this from her. Efuru does not believe Eneberi could ever do that. 

Eneberi hid his son for a while, as well as his detention in police custody. Efuru decides to find out what exactly is wrong.

She makes up her mind one Orie night to ask Eneberi if he was truly arrested, and if he lies, she will leave him for good. 

Fortunately, Gilbert confesses, and Efuru is cool even though he does not really say what happened, but he denies the crime of stealing.

Nkoyeni hears the rumor in the market and comes back home to ask her husband. Eneberi refuses to give her answer, but Efuru covers for him and tells her that it is not true. 

However, Nkoyeni is not convinced. “She made a lot of trouble and alluded to the scandal at the slightest provocation until Gilbert and Efuru were thoroughly disgusted with her” (p. 212).

Efuru says they are going to marry another wife for Eneberi to reduce Nkoyeni’s trouble and pride. Ajanupu suggests Ogea, who is now a grown girl. 

Both Ogea and Eneberi are happy about it. Prior to the final arrangements of Ogea’s marriage, Efuru falls sick. Everybody thinks she’s going to die, while some people think she is pregnant. 

After a series of divinations by different dibias, a truth is established. She has neglected the woman of the lake, and a sacrifice must be made. 

The dibia that prescribes the ingredients for the sacrifice collects “eleven pence—all in pennies.” Afterwards, Efuru’s illness still persists.

Omirima tells Amede that Efuru has committed adultery, and until she confesses, her illness will persist and eventually kill her. 

Amede is incredulous about it and goes to another dibia, who later confirms that it is true. Eneberi too finds it hard to believe, but when it gets to the point of death, he persuades his wife to confess and says that he will never ostracize her. 

Eneberi sends for Ajanupu and tells her what they have been told—Efuru’s alleged infidelity.

Ajanupu takes it personally and scolds Eneberi. Eneberi gives Ajanupu a slap that knocks her down. Ajanupu is a strong woman. She stands up, picks up a mortar and pestle, and breaks it on Gilbert’s head. 

“Blood filled Gilbert’s eyes” (p. 217).

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