Death and the King’s Horseman is based on historical events in Oyo, Nigeria in 1946. Playwright Wole Soyinka made few changes in his script -- minor changes in detail, sequence, and characterization, as well as setting the incident during the height of World War II -- but let the events remain as they occurred: a sacred tradition is halted by ignorant outsider, with disastrous consequences. The same event also inspired the Yoruban play Oba Wàjà by Duro Ladipo.
In his introductory note to the play, Soyinka expresses that the conflict of the play should not be seen as a “clash of cultures” --
Death and the King's Horseman guide sections