The Passport of Mallam Ilia

by EAEP

  • SKU: 2010141001034

It was late in 1947. A young man’s train was gasping and panting up the steep incline that leads on to the Bauchi Plateau in Northern Nigeria.

Apparently he had plans ahead. One of those plans was to meet his mother, Dije, and find his father.

There in the train, he discovered an old worn out man staring at an old passport.

‘The book was his, and, presumably, he had paid his fare. But my attention had been drawn to his face, and, for the first time since the start of the journey, I noticed it. It was the face of an old man, bearded, with weak eyes from which the tears ran down freely.’

The young man will be the writer’s voice while Mallam Illia, the old man, would be the Protagonist.

The Passport of Mallam Illia is story of revenge gone sour, set in the colonial Northern Nigeria. It is set in the colonial Northern region terrorized by the antagonistic attitude of some Northern youths to the heavily and better armed British colonialists.

Mallam Illia in his youth is said to be brave and adventurous. He is widely traveled. A time came for Mallam Illia to marry a woman as his wife, but he would not. His parent sent him beautiful girls within the famous town hall, but none was attractive to him.

‘I prided myself on being a man, and did not consider it gallant merely to ‘buy’ or ‘take on’ a wife. I wanted something more romantic.’   Challenging, I will call it.

One of those evenings when Mallam Illia was discussing politics with his friends, a company of men, Arab traders crowned in dust masks, came to them and challenged any one of them to the game of Shanchi in exchange for a beautiful girl.

The game of Shanchi is the game of FIGHT TO DEATH.

The beautiful girl in question is Zara, the daughter of the Prince of Turaegs.

Mallam Illia, brave and adventurous, rose up to the challenge.

‘It is not a game for faint hearts. But he who thinks that Zara is not a sufficient prize to induce him to take part, let him leave now.’

KES 400

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