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BLOSSOMS OF THE SAVANNA:
Themes

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BETRAYAL

Betrayal is breaking of the trust that existed between individuals before. The greatest betrayal in the novel is that of Ole Kaelo to his daughters. On page one, we are told that Ole Kaelo refused to allow his daughter Taiyo to travel to Mombasa with other young men and women selected by an FM radio station for a music extravaganza (pp.1-2). He refused to allow her saying that no daughter of his "...would so demean herself and her family as to perform in public in exchange of monetary gain" (p.45). To him that would be like engaging in harlotry. In addition, he betrays his daughters' ambitions to join Egerton University preferring instead to marry them off to Oloisudori, a very rich man. This shows he is not ready to help them realize their dreams as a father should do.

Ole Kaelo has betrayed Resian in many ways. He has not loved her as he should from her birth. We are told that "From the moment she was born, mute and helpless, he detested her" (p.10). This has contributed to Resian growing up "...sullen, bewildered and resentful" (p.10). He is biased in his treating of the two daughters for he does not love her as he loves Taiyo. Taiyo admits this emotional betrayal: "For reasons she did not understand, she had always found their father strangely and harshly impatient towards Resian" (p.34). However, she knew that he despised her ever since she was young (p.173). Ole Kaelo is strongly hateful and unappreciative of her: "...he wondered where in the world they fetched that awkward, overblown, stupid child...And the very look in her eyes, half-fearful, half-defiant and wholly troubled, was always enough to raise his temper to the highest pitch" (p.41). He also abuses her at the slightest provocation. He tells her: "While Taiyo works herself to the bone, she lazes about like an over-fed lizard in the hot afternoon sun!" (p.64). He goes on "Look at the way you slouch...I'll not be surprised if you soon become a hunchback" (p.64). Even her mother fails Resian for we are told: "Even stranger was their mother's failure to come to Resian's defense. It was as if her motherly instincts could not extend her protective wings to cover Resian. Seeing her parents' betrayal of her sister, Taiyo takes over to comfort Resian and reassure her when hurt especially by her father. Her role in Resian's life is very important because she relies on her to make requests to their father on her behalf for she cannot approach him directly. The case in point is her quest to join university which she keeps pestering Taiyo to ask their father to do on her behalf. A parent that cannot communicate with his child has definitely failed in his parental responsibility.

Ole Kaelo and Oloisudori mercilessly hatch a plan to abduct Resian and marry her off without her consent if she does not cooperate. The plan is "If she declined, he would leave it at that until the evening when his men would pounce on her and abduct her" (p.191). After such a heinous plan, "The three of them ...roared with rich laughter" (p.192). He is even ready to have her circumcised so that she can get married to a man she does not even love. Mama Milanoi is not blameless because she is inwardly opposed to the abduction plan; but does not speak out to condemn such a wicked plan. When Oloisudori reveals his plan to marry Resian, it "dawned on her that her father had already sold her" (p.204). This greatly shocks her because she never thought that her father could go to the extent of selling her (p.205). He confirms the plan to marry her off to his friend Oloisudori and also shatters Resian's dream of enrolling as a student at Egerton University. He tells her: "I thought about it alright, but decided that I am not sending you there!" (p.207). This discovery makes her cry, "accusing her father of hatred and betrayal by betrothing her to Oloisudori" (p.208). Resian does not absolve her mother from blame for she believes she also failed her (p.230) especially due to her silence when all those plans against her were being devised. She reasons that her mother should not have been silent when her daughter was being sold to the highest bidder for "Even the hyena's greed spared its own young ones" (p.231).

Mama Milanoi also betrays her daughter Taiyo by allowing her to accompany three women to take her to Resian only for her to end up being forcefully subjected to F.G.M. We are told that "When she came to, two days later, she was sore, bitter and angry" (p.273). Her mother does all this out of her docile submission and fear of her husband. In addition, she has to play along with Ole Kaelo in his devious acts so that they cannot lose the wealth Ole Kaelo has corruptly acquired by doing business with Oloisudori. Later, when Resian and Taiyo are reunited, they blame their mother for their ordeals saying "She was an example of a wife they never wanted to become" and that they knew she was always in "awe of their father who held her captive and never for once allowed her to express her own opinion on any matter however small it was" (p.277).

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