History has a selective memory, choosing who to remember and who to forget. For those it remembers, it carefully crafts their stories, passing them down from generation to generation. But for those it chooses to forget, history never truly erases them. It simply tells their stories in different ways, at different times. And amidst it all, history never forgets a single thing.
Chief Nwakpuda was a renowned king and fearless warrior in his time. He adamantly opposed the construction of a rail line through his village, believing it would endanger the women of his kingdom. Even after the rail line was built, he remained steadfast in his refusal to let the train pass through.
So, on the day of the train’s test-run, fueled by his unwavering vow, Nwakpuda prepared himself. News of the event had reached his ears through the town-criers, and without revealing his plans, he sharpened his war cutlass. With determination in his eyes, he made his way to the rail track, ready to defend his father’s land.
As the train approached, the driver spotted Nwakpuda standing tall with his weapon. The train’s horn blared, but it only fueled Nwakpuda’s resolve. He mocked the approaching “animal,” taunting it for crying before he had even touched it. Firmly grounded, he stood ready to strike. And alas, the inevitable occurred. He was crushed on the unforgiving rail track.
But here’s the twist – the white men, the British colonial masters, were deeply moved by Nwakpuda’s unwavering heroism. They saw him as a true legend. To honour his sacrifice, they built an epitaph at the very spot where he perished. Nwakpuda did not die in vain. He became a symbol of courage and a forgotten hero finally recognized for his extraordinary bravery.
Culled From Igbo History