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The whole village turns out to watch the wrestling matches, "Men, women, and children." Everyone stands in a huge circle around an open space near the "ancient silk-cotton tree which (is) sacred." Before the matches begin, three drummers strike an incessant rhythm on seven drums with sticks, working the crowd to a frenzy.
At last the two teams of wrestlers dance into the circle. The contest begins with the boys in their mid-teens; they perform merely to set the scene. The first two bouts in this division are over quickly, but the third creates "a big sensation." Maduka, the son of Obierka, performs a move upon his opponent that no one has ever seen before, winning the bout with amazing efficiency. After the young boys have competed, there is a brief rest, when the drummers are quiet and the crowd relaxes.
After the respite, the drummers take up their sticks again in anticipation of the main event. The two teams face each other across the clear space, and one by one, young men dance across to the other side, pointing out the opponent they wish to face. Two judges watch the wrestlers, and if they find that they are evenly matched, they stop the confrontation, and the match is declared a draw. The last match is between the leaders of the teams, who are among the best wrestlers in all the villages. Okafo and Ikezue are the leaders again this year; last year they had faced each other, but neither had emerged victorious.
The contest between Okafo and Ikezue is fierce. Ikezue tries to dig his right heel behind Okafo so as to pitch him backwards, but he is unsuccessful, and after awhile, the two are almost motionless in each others' desperate grips. Just when it seems that the match will be called a draw, Ikezue makes a fatal mistake, dropping to one knee in an attempt to fling Okafo back over his head. Okafo reacts with lighning speed, maintaining his balance and swinging his right leg over Ikezue's head to score a victory. As the crowd bursts into a thunderous roar, Okafo is lifted up by his supporters and carried home on their shoulders (Chapter 6).
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