Themes in Elechi Amadi’s The Slave

The Slave by Elechi Amadi discusses themes such as the influence of religion, superstition, and fate.

The Slave by Elechi Amadi
The Slave by Elechi Amadi

The Slave by Elechi Amadi discusses themes such as the influence of religion, superstition, and fate. In this blog post, we are going to look into some of these themes.

Influence of Religion

The theme of religion is one of the prominent themes in The Slave. Religion forms the core of one’s belief, moral principle, and ethical standards. The Aliji community is highly influenced by their religious practices. Several instances can be found in the book. One is where you can find them mentioning the different gods like Amadioha, Ali. Their activities are also determined by the gods, for instance, to know when it’s a new year, and is confirmed by the gods. “The Priest of Ali is also Aliji’s human Calendar.” The farming Season, when to plant and also when to work is determined by the gods.

Theme of Superstition

The superstitious belief of the Aliji community is one of the core reasons for Olumati’s brief stay in Aliji.  Olumati’s father, Osimini, who left the village years back, is still identified in his son’s life, whom the people still viewed as a slave after all clarifications they got from the priest of Amadioha saying “Olumati does not belong to Amadioha and could stay in Aliji.” 


It also made them believe that since it was alleged that Echela family stole the Ivories from Ali, they were doomed to misfortunes for all generations. This superstitious belief greatly affected Olumati as he is not able to marry Enaa, the girl he loves. He ends up leaving the village of Aliji to take refuge with Amadioha.

Theme of Fate

Fate refers to the idea that events in life are predetermined and are outside of an individual’s control. It is one of the discernible themes in The Slave. All Olumati ever wanted was to continue the lineage of his family and live in peace and harmony with his people. But fate determined otherwise as all his efforts end up in vain. After all the attempts, hard work, persistence, he still returns to Amadioha at the end.

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