Death and the King's Horseman is a play by Wole Soyinka based on a real incident that took place in Nigeria during British colonial rule: the horseman of an important chief was prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities. In addition to the British intervention, Soyinka calls the horseman's own conviction toward suicide into question, posing a problem that throws off the community's balance.
Soyinka wrote the play in Cambridge, where he was a fellow at Churchill College during his political exile from Nigeria. He has also written a preface to the play, explaining what he sees as greatest misconceptions in understanding it. In particular, he says that the play should not be considered as "clash of cultures."