Craig White's Literature Courses

Critical Sources

Wole Soyinka,
Death & the King's Horseman



(15) calabash [<F calebasse] 1. A name given to various gourds or pumpkins, the shell of which is used for holding liquids, etc. 2. The fruit of the calabash tree of America, the shell of which is used for household utensils, water-bottles, kettles, musical instruments, etc.; it is round or oval, and so hard externally as even to be used in boiling liquids over a fire.
n. a tree ( Crescentia Cujete) native to tropical America and the West Indies, bearing the large oval or globular fruit called calabash; also a name of the baobab tree.


(13) Ifa: In Yoruba religion, a system of divination or prophecy, associated with literary works known as Odu Ifa.


(25) juju [<F joujou, "toy" or "plaything"] An object of any kind superstitiously venerated by West African native peoples, and used as a charm, amulet, or means of protection; a fetish. Also, the supernatural or magical power attributed to such objects, or the system of observances connected therewith; also, a ban or interdiction effected by means of such an object (corresponding to the Polynesian taboo).


(13) kite [<OE] 1. A bird of prey of the family Falconidæ and subfamily Milvinæ, having long wings, tail usually forked, and no tooth in the bill.  3a. [ < its hovering in the air like the bird.] A toy consisting of a light frame, usually of wood, with paper or other light thin material stretched upon it . . .


(12) mallam [<Hausa] In Nigeria and other parts of Africa: a learned man; a scribe, teacher, or healer.

(9-10) Olohun-iyo: Yoruba name for the praise-singer?

(19) plantain: common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. Plantains resemble bananas, and each sometimes takes the name of the other, but the two belong to different genuses. The plantain is used more for cooking, while the banana is sometimes called "the dessert banana."

(14) yam [< nyam Wolof "to taste"]: one of many species of genus Diascorea including flowering plants producing edible tubers that grow in warm and equatorial parts of Earth. In the United States, sweet potatoes are sometimes called yams, but sweet potatoes are not members of athe Diascorea family. Staple crop of Igbo people of Nigera. Color of flesh ranges from white or yellow to purple or pink.










[ ]