Death and the King's Horsemen is based on historical dilemma in the Western region of Nigeria Oyo. Nigerian kingdoms were constitutional monarchies with the leader (Oba) democratically elected from several candidates within the ruling dynasty. In the Yoruba hemisphere, leadership is inherited within a family. The first son of the king is chosen by the oracle after his father had joined the ancestors in the afterlife. In this play, it is the duty of the king's horseman's son, Olunde to succeed his father, Elesin once he fulfilled his suicide ritual to accompany the king in heaven.