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BLOSSOMS OF THE SAVANNA:
Themes

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FEMALE ASSERTIVENESS

At the centre of fighting retrogressive cultural practices is Resian, Taiyo and Minik ene Nkoitoi who is commonly called Emakererei.

Both Resian and Taiyo resist F.GM and do all they can to fight the outmoded practice. Resian says she would not live anywhere near a man who would want to mutilate her sexuality while Taiyo says she would only be mutilated if only she were dead (p.33). This declaration sets the mood and tone in the rest of the novel where the girls fight various individuals that try to force them in taking a path they do not wish. Resian resists being circumcised by force in a dream by fighting the enkamuratani and the enkoiboni (pp.244-254). She tells Minik that she had heard of her relentless fight against F.G.M and underage marriage (p.262). Her stand is that girl child circumcision should disappear from Maa language and regarded extinct and that Intoiye Nemengalana (uncircumcised girl) should stop being derogatory (p.263). Minik is bitter and angry about the continued practice of F.G.M at a time she believes the rite has stopped being useful to women. She blames the practice on the neo-culture of wealth which was dampening the fight against such outdated practices. Her take is that "...there was need to plan new strategies to battle the new monster that was rearing its ugly head" (p.269). Resian has a different way out of the problem. She believes that if all women said no to the detestable culture, men would do nothing about it (pp.277-278). Women who have undergone F.G.M such as Minik and Nabaru agree that they are not different human beings hence downplaying its importance.

Resian is opposed to cultural coaching by Joseph Parmuat. Her father observes that though they may find some cultural demands detestable, it is such practices that nurtured and bound their people together (p.71). To Resian, the coaching is worthless and she says that if they were sons, they would not be subjected to cultural coaching. She says, "I refuse to be taught. I will either be taught at the university what is universally beneficial to all mankind or be taught nothing" (p.73). She is opposed to informal education to girls meant to please men saying, "I refuse to be taught to solely please male counterparts. They can also cook, and they can, and should also learn to please us females" (p.77). She is described as someone who knows her rights by her mother and that she would not allow anyone trample on them (p.118). Later, she accepts to be coached but only after Joseph introduces interesting topics such as those of love.

When Taiyo falls in love with Joseph, she does not care about what others or the culture says about it. She boldly tells Joseph, "No, I don't care about the oppressive Nasila culture. Why should I care about violating the backward culture when it does not care when it violates my own rights?" (p.133). She says this despite knowing very well that her culture does not allow inter-clan marriage. She assertively tells Joseph she does not care about her culture's position on the matter when he tells her they cannot marry (p.134). She is ready to defend her love for Joseph including eloping with him to join others who share with her neo-cultural persuasion.

The two girls are ready to fight and resist forced marriages and Oloisudori's advances on them. They plan and succeed in returning the gifts that he had brought them saying, "Woe to him if he thought she was a chattel to be secured by the content of a briefcase!" (p.198). She flatly rejects Oloisudori's plans to marry her saying, "You are stark mad if you think I am your wife. I can only be your wife over my dead body" (p.204). She boldly tells her father that she would rather die than get married to a monster" (p.209). When Resian is abducted by Olarinkoi, she continues in her fighting and resisting spirit. The writer says, "Olarinkoi and his demonic mother may physically take her to Tanzania...take her as his wife...physically circumcise her, but mentally she was going to resist... She was going to refuse to be subdued...she was going to physically resist" (p.230).

The song by the girls from Intapuka-e-Maa during Taiyo's and Resian's farewell party is full of female assertion. They say they are proud to be uncircumcised and that they would be doctors, teachers and engineers and would build the nation together with men (p.281). This is a song of hope and optimism hence revealing a generation of young people that are not ready to be daunted by retrogressive cultural practices.

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