Chapter 1 to 12 Summary of Elechi Amadi’s The Slave

In chapter 6 of The Slave, Enaa’s initiation ceremony into Mgbede begins with the celebration and arrival of guests to Bekweri’s compound,

The Slave by Elechi Amadi
The Slave by Elechi Amadi

In this blog post, we are going to summarise Elechi Amadi’s novel, The Slave, from chapters one to twelve.

Chapter 1 Summary

Chapter 1 of Elechi Amadi’s The Slave begins with Olumati who went on a long walk to help with his fever. His walk is cut short when he meets Enaa, a friend of his sister Aleru. They get to know each other on the way back home. Enaa is about to enter Mgbede, which means a stage at which a girl at puberty would be given a long holiday before she takes on the burdens of marriage. Sometimes it is within six months or extended to two years. This stage is something all the Erekwi girls are excited about, though not all could participate especially in the case of Aleru who has to take care of her grandmother Nyege.

Chapter 2 Summary

In chapter 2 of The Slave, Nyege is summoned by the village elders on the concern that her grandson, Olumati is living with her without consulting them. The reasons stated is that Osimini took refuge in the hands of Amadioha during the time of sickness and death that happened in village. This story was narrated by Minikwe (Eze) through the consistent request of Nyege as to why she was not allowed to bring her grandson back to the community of Aliji.


The village elders’ main concern is that they do not want the wrath of Amadioha to fall upon the village for taking his supposed slave. This is settled after the messengers sent to Amadioha’s shrine came back with a message saying “Amadioha does not take what does not belong to him.”

Chapter 3 Summary

The people of Aliji are happy that Olumati has been allowed to stay in Aliji. He is warmly welcomed and the wrestlers of the community hoped he would be a wonderful addition to the team because he was also built like his grandfather Wakwakata (the spider) who was a great wrestler.

In this chapter, Minikwe, the Eze of Aliji converses with Olumati on recovering his lands back which have been taken and been in use by neighbours. He returned the small plot of land owned by Olumati’s father (Izige) back to him on his return.

After the meeting with Minikwe, his grandmother Nyege, tells him the story of his past family and how his father left to serve Amadioha. She also warns him of villagers and villages he could be friends with and those he should stay away from.

Chapter 4 Summary

Enaa is getting ready for her Mgbede which is to begin in a few days and would last for two years. During this time, different suitors come to ask for the girl’s hand in marriage and Enaa is no different. The only problem is that she doesn’t have a feeling for any of them at the moment. Although this is criticized by her parents and friends, she holds her ground.

Nyeche, who is introduced to Olumati by Minikwe, takes him around to show him the land at Izige and other farmlands. They stop at Wizo the Carver’s house where they encounter Aso. This encounter between the both parties turn into an altercation between Olumati and Aso. This fight is eventually stopped by Wizo the Carver. They promise to  settle it at the arena during the wrestling season.

Chapter 5 Summary

In chapter 5 of The Slave, Nyeche keeps his promise by teaching Olumati how to tap palm wine. In the process, they talked about his forthcoming fight with Aso. They also speak marriage. Nyege and Olumati speak about their respective love interest for Aleru and Enaa.

Nyeche comes to Olumati’s house to bring the pot which would be used to harvest the palm wine. He expresses his love interest for Aleru, which was eventually interrupted by Olumati.

Chapter 6 Summary

In chapter 6 of The Slave, Enaa’s initiation ceremony into Mgbede begins with the celebration and arrival of guests to Bekweri’s compound, including Aleru, Olumati and Aso.  Enaa introduced her brother Oriji to Olumati and they got talking.

After the ceremony, Olumati walks with his sister home. He reminisces on his life as a whole, a husband, a palm wine tapper and a provider for his family. He harvests his first wine with the help of Nyeche and eventually finds more palm trees which he adds to his and this earns him some money.

The Slave by Elechi Amadi
The Slave by Elechi Amadi

Chapter 7 Summary

The day finally comes for the erecting of Olumati’s house as he has formally been accepted by the people of Aliji. Nzege is not in attendance because of her illness.

Minikwe performs the ritual of liberation followed by the chant. The ceremony is successful with the help of the villagers, especially Adiba and the other women who assisted Aleru in cooking and tending to guests. His growing success made his sister curious as to when he will get married.

Chapter 8 Summary

Olumati starts getting used to wine tapping. He also adds hunting, since he has no farm at the moment. He taps some sweet wine and takes it to visit Enaa whom he spends some time with. After their conversation, he goes away and thinks of the idea of marrying her.

Chapter 9 Summary

Eze has concerns for his son about marriage. Because he did not want his son to make the mistake he did by sending out his wife because she was not perfect for the gods, he insists on him marrying Enaa but Nyeche’s heart belongs to another. He tries talking his father out of it but it was of no use. The date is fixed for the visitation with a keg of palm wine but Nyeche thinks of the failure of the marriage.

Oriji begins his preparation for the masquerade festival being organized for Enaa’s outing ceremony with Wizo the Carver.

Chapter 10 Summary

Olumati’s house is completed, but his sister Aleru wants it to be homely by adding designs to it.  Adiba comes to the rescue.

Olumati moves in, leaving only Aleru to care for their sick grandmother. On the first night in the new house, his grandmother Nzege passes on. Ovunda from Osa family helps with the burial.

Chapter 11 Summary

Nzege’s death affects Aleru so much that she has to be spending the nights in her brother’s house. All other families are present at the burial of Nzege except the Okani family whose feud will not end with Echela family. Ovunda has to pass a warning to Okani family which might be the next priesthood family for amicable settlement. The people of Aliji treat Aleru and Olumati nicely and Nyeche gets closer than ever to them.

Chapter 12 Summary

In chapter 12 of The Slave, Aso contemplates why Enaa and her father have not given him a response. He sees himself as desirable, handsome, and strong to all girls he meets. Enaa should be no different.

He visits her and they talk about the wrestling season. He tries to get her to agree to marrying him before the response from her father but Enaa does not agree to it. He angrily smashes her music pot before leaving. Oriji could not make sense of what he did. Aso promises to buy her another pot.

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