He was a fifteen-year-old boy who was given to Umofia from the neighbouring clan- Mbaino to end the war or conflicts between them. He was given as a sacrifice of killing one woman from Umofia.
Eventually, when he died, his death did affect Okwonkwo throughout the book. However, Okonkwo joined in the killing of Ikemefuna since he was afraid of being considered weak yet he was later haunted by his decision since he was warned not to take part.
Okonkwo could not eat; sleep and the action brought a wide ridge between him and his son Nwoye (Chinua Achebe, 1959).
Ikemefuna’s destiny was predetermined since he was taken from their family at a very tender age to the new community to pay for the sins which he was not part. He even had no knowledge. He was put in the hands of Umofia elders and Okwonkwo has his new father whose entire fate lies.
It is his death which opens the eyes of Nwoye to understand the sense of right denial by the customs when they went ahead to kill an innocent young man.
The emptiness followed Nwoye which could not be filled by the tradition. It thus shows that Ikemefuna had played a role in shaping the Umofia clan and his effort could not be sidelined.
A Great Teacher
Ikemefuna is the character who did teach Nwoye how to be a man and enabled Nwoye to start interacting with the men of the family and the tribe.
He started to act like a man, a move which his father always adored. He was loved and respected by Nwoye, and his leadership played a role in ensuring that Nwoye had become a responsible person in society (Chinua Achebe, 1959).
He finally became part of the Okonkwo‘s family and everyone like and loved him a lot. He was known to be a hunter who could identify the bids and trap rodents during his hunting spree.
Therefore, even though the Umofia community killed Ikemefuna given that he was an alien, he stood an opportunity to excel in life.