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Characters and Characterisation

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Joseph Parmuat

He is a teacher in primary school and trainer of Taiyo and Resian on traditional dances. He is in love with Taiyo but traditions restrain the relationship.


He openly tells Taiyo and Resian that he will join them to fight FGM even when the environment is not friendly (p.88). He describes himself as a fish that had jumped out of water… on verge of death" This is when his relationship with Taiyo inclines to intimacy (p.136).


Mama Milanoi corrects Kaelo's thinking by informing him that Joseph is the finest and dependable young man of Nasila (p.48). She does not disappoint Taiyo's parents (p.132).


On meeting Taiyo, he falls in love with her. He promises to visit her the following day and also coach her on traditional dance if allowed by Taiyo's father.


In dealing with Kaelo's two girls, he is cautious of Nasila culture and respects his parents. (p.122). He is alert so that with Taiyo they do not begin a clandestine relationship (p.123). He fears the condition of Intoiye nemengalana in the girls. He cautiously weighs whether to fall in love with Taiyo and break his cultural law (p.137). He fears that the uncircumcised Taiyo may be wild and untamable.


While dealing with Taiyo he always ensures that Resian is available (p.124). He follows Kaelo closely to ensure the old man was safe during the errands of pursuing his girls' molesters (p.159). He helps in the rescue of Taiyo from her circumcisers although he dies by being speared to death in the process.


He observes that Maa culture has already shed off some traditional practices like throwing of the dead and the dying to hyenas, abandoning very old and terminally ill people to animals." (p.128). He observes how Nasila culture is violent once its sensibilities are violated (p.132).


Although there is a strong wave of marrying Taiyo who is uncircumcised, he sticks to  his culture. He strongly feels that "Nasila culture was the father and mother that nurtured." (p.137). in this case he views the culture as that which nourishes the members of the community. He resolves to decline her love (p.136).


In his house shelves are neatly packed with books. (P.131). He is a primary school teacher in Maasai land, an area with low education index.

Joseph Parmuat's role is important in the novel. The novelist uses him to anchor the theme of culture. He also helps in the emancipation of women through his sacrifice towards Taiyo's education.

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