Blossoms of the Savannah

Blossoms of the Savannah Study Guide

H. R. Ole Kulet does not shy away from the controversial in his novel Blossoms of the Savannah. Like his other works, Blossoms of the Savannah focuses on the cultural differences between the traditional, and often ethically complicated, lives of the Maasai people in his native Kenya and more modern ways of life. Blossoms of the Savannah, published in 2008, was awarded the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in recognition of its achievements in opening up fruitful public discourse about how these cultures can co-exist.

Blossoms of the Savannah is the story of two courageous young sisters, Resian and Taiyo, who live most of their lives in the city, with parents who live a modern life, and do not adhere to the traditions of the Maa people they came from. Their lives are changed when their father decides to move the family back to the small village of Nasila, and they become torn between achieving personal ambitions and fulfilling Nasila traditions and becoming homemakers—an expectation that has been suddenly thrust upon them. They are alienated culturally because of their refusal to adhere to arranged marriages at a very young age, and their resistance to circumcision, i.e. female genital mutilation. Pursuing social status, and a better income, their father betrays them in an attempt to impress a corrupt businessman who wants to marry his daughter. Realizing that their parents are not going to rescue them, the girls decide to rescue themselves, and choose a modern life, away from their cultural roots.