ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Drummer Boy by Cyprian Ekwensi

Updated on November 19, 2015

Drummer Boy

The Summary

The main story in the Drummer Boy revolves round a blind boy named Akin whose wonderful drumming skill and melodious voice brought joy to the people in the communities in which he performed. Given the irresistible nature of the rhythm that flowed from his tambourine and the melody of his songs, the drummer boy becomes a focus of attention for well meaning as well as criminal minded citizens.

Madam Bisi, Nurse Joe, Marshall, Fletcher and Ayike genuinely seek to offer help to Akin while Herbert and his three criminal associates work against Akin even as they pose as friends. For example, Madam Bisi's plan to get Akin a place in "The Boys' Forest Home" as a means of making himself sufficient and less dependent on charity is misunderstood by the drummer who abandons his hospital abode for a stay with Herbert in Ikekan College. Moreover Marshall's attempt to talk to Akin into accepting a position in the Boys' Home forces Akin out of Ilkekan College where he has been a source of joy to all those associated with his music.

Akin helps Ayike to rebuild her Eating-House. He is joined by three other musicians and together they worked as a team. But when Ayike quarrels with the three musicians, Akin leaves also. He later finds out that his partners in music were criminals whose informant was Herbert. He also learns that Herbert's master was murdered by the gang. And then, just as he concluded a successful tour of various towns, he is imposed upon by this gang and robbed of his earnings.

The gang uses Akin as a means of distraction as they plan to steal tyres from an army lorry. They are caught. The three musicians are hanged and Akin and Herbert sent to the Boys forest home. Akin continues to spread joy in his new abode while plans are made for him to re-unite with his parents.

Setting and Background

The story is set in the colonial times. This is evident from the fact that Mr. Marshall is the welfare officer and Mr. Fletcher is the founder of "The Boys' Forest Home". Moreover, England is mentioned in connection with equipment for the center to train blind people. The hospital environment, sense of justice and school system depicted in the play remind one of the colonial days. Madam Bisi's encounters with the welfare officer and Mr. Fletcher are typical experiences that remind us of the colonial era.

Lessons in The Drummer Boy

Unlike other Nigerian and African authors of his time, Cyprian in relating the events that amounts to the story of Akin's life, indirectly makes certain general or universal statements about the protagonist's life the nature of the society in which he lives and the nature of man's fate generally. These implicit comments help us gain insights into life and human experience. Below are some of the themes that can be found in "The Drummer Boy".

1. A handicapped person has limited opportunities for self-fulfillment in many society. There are initially no facilities for training bling persons in Akin's society and the one that was eventually built needed a campaign to sensitise the populance to its usefulness.

2. Formal training could enhance the life of a handicapped person but it does not necessarily follow that all persons with disabilities need formal training to be useful. Madam Bisi's concern for Akin's welfare is laudable but Akin was quite useful as an entertainer.

3. Good music is irresistible to most people. This is demonstrated by the fact that Akin was considered an important person in his community who catered for the people's need of healthy recreation.

4. The world is full of intrigues. This is made evident by the exploitative activities of Herbert and his gang.

5. Some kinds of "criminals" can be effectively rehabilitated as is evident in operations of "The Boys' Forest Home".

6. Man's good nature may sometimes make him incapable of recognizing the nature of evil. It took Akin such a long time to discover that Herbert and his gang engaged in criminal acts.

7. Ignorance and unwillingness to be part of new experiences sometimes create difficulties for man. Akin's struggle to run away from a formal training created avenues for hisself-experiences.

9. Innocent persons can sometimes be mistakenly condemned or associated with criminal activities. If Ayike were not around to testify on behalf of Akin he would have surely been regarded as a criminal.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Usama Adamu 

      3 weeks ago

      Very Interested And Precise Work Of Art But One Flaws I Would Like To Point Out Here Is.' The Writer Does't To Indicate The Central Region Of His Work.

    • profile image

      aderewa chinedu 

      7 months ago

      i love this book its the best nigerian book that taught me a very big lesson

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Good attention is suppose to be given to certain handicap or disable out there.Yes, that was the main reason why Madan Bisi, Mr Fletcher and others were so interested in promoting Akin's good experience at the 'Boys' Forest home'.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)