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BLOSSOMS OF THE SAVANNA:
Themes

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CHANGE

Change refers to transition or transformation of characters or situations. Most of the changes in the novel Blossoms of the Savannah are caused by the erosion of the Maa culture as a result of its coming into contact with modern culture or civilization. This causes alienation in characters and as a result they change.

The Ole Kaelos are forced by destiny to relocate to Nasila after his retrenchment. This came as a thunderbolt at midday (p.7). The environment in Kaelo's new home in Nasila is different from that in their urban home in Nakuru. Taiyo and Resian are woken up the first day in Nasila by "...a lively chatter of birds in the trees surrounding the house...What a contrast to what they were used to in Nakuru!" (p.14). In Nakuru, they were always woken up by hoots from Matatus, touts' shouts, engine revving and banging on vehicles.

Nasila culture is changing due to alienation. Mama Milanoi cannot believe she can have a man as old as Oloisudori as her mother-in-law. She observes that in the past, such a thing would not have happened for "Culture would not have allowed it to happen" (p.114). She feels that if Nasila culture was intact, such a thing would not have happened and she wonders "...where that culture had fled to "...Had the culture become moribund, useless and impotent?" (p.117) This could be true because forced marriages to old people were not there in the past and any old man who showed interest in a young girl was met with much retribution from women and the entire society." pp.115- 117).

The traditional Nasilian culture had many advantages to the people. It regulated lives of people, defined relationships, did not favour or discriminate and above all, was cherished by all. Sadly, according to Mama Milanoi, this culture was no more. "It was defiled and polluted by the likes of Oloisudori ...had become mutable and contained defiant mutants that it could not regulate and which were above Nasila laws" (p.118). One of the causes of this great change in Nasila culture is education for Mama Milanoi goes on to observe that she had seen changes in her daughters. "They had gone through a school system that intermingled them with children from other cultures." (p.118). As a result, her children know very little of Nasila culture. "They were children of a new undefined culture. Theirs was a mutant of another kind" (p.118). Indeed, Resian best exemplifies the epitome of this new undefined culture.

Joseph Parmuat observes that "Individualism, petty jealousy and lack of trust killed that once important aspect of Nasila culture" (p.127). The individualism of the likes of Ole Kaelo and Oloisudori are very central in eroding the culture of Nasila hence bringing many changes in the society. According to Taiyo, culture and traditions are never static. She says, "By being dynamic, culture shades off aspects that become irrelevant with time" (p.128). She hopes that the outdated FGM and restriction on inter-clan marriage should be abolished from Nasila cultural practices. Joseph and Minik cites cultural practices like throwing the dead to the hyenas, leaving the elderly and sick in deserted homesteads to be devoured by wild animals and emuata (pp.128, 263). This ascertains the dynamism and transformational characteristic of Nasilian culture over the years an aspect that gives hope to fighters against outdated practices such as F.G.M.

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