Blossoms of the Savannah

Blossoms of the Savannah Character List

Parsimei Ole Kaelo

Ole Kaelo is the father of Resian and Taiyo and husband of Mama Milanoi. He left the village of Nasila roughly twenty years ago to work at Agribix Ltd., where he worked for two decades before he was fired.

Ole Kaelo's relationship with his daughters is complicated. He loves and supports Taiyo unconditionally, but resents Resian for robbing him of a male heir.

Mama Milanoi

Mama Milanoi is a character who struggles to reconcile her modern ideals with the cultural expectations for Maa women. After moving to Nasila, she takes on the role of a traditional Nasila woman by setting aside her belief in women's rights and her opposition to arranged marriage.


Resian emerges as the hero of the novel. She opposes circumcision (FGM) despite pushback from her mother and aunts. From the beginning of the novel, she wants to attend Egerton University to pursue her education. Resian is stubborn, strong-willed, and courageous.

When she is almost raped, she fights back. When she cannot convince her parents to stop an arranged marriage to a criminal, who is old enough to be her father, she runs away.


Taiyo is the eldest and is adored by her father. Consequently, Taiyo is also more obedient and more forgiving of Kaelo's actions. After moving to Nasila, Taiyo falls in love with Joseph Parmuat, but cannot marry him because he is from the same clan.

When faced with the decision of whether to marry Oloisudori and follow her father's wishes, she ultimately runs away to join Resian. Taiyo's choice comes at a steep price—the life of Joseph.

Oloisudori Loonkiya

Oloisudori is a corrupt government contractor. He lures others into business with him with the promise of fast money, and then extorts them. He is widely known to be a criminal in Nasila, but is too powerful and too feared to be brought to justice.

He chooses Resian and his bride, knowing Kaelo cannot deny him without losing his business.


A wolf in sheep's clothing, Olarinkoi is at first Resian's savior, rescuing her from forced marriage, but then turns out to be yet another man who betrays her, attempting to rape her and intending to force her into marriage.

Nabaru the enkabaani

The enkabaani is a nurse and a medicine woman; she rescues Resian after she has been left for dead by Olarinkoi. She respects the young women who come into her care and disapproves of the way in which they are treated by the men in the village; she is instrumental in helping the sisters escape by procuring a ride for them all into Tanzania. She is more of a mother figure to the sisters than their own mother is, in that she is courageous in her protection of them, and is willing to put herself at risk to help them.

Joseph Parmuat

Joseph is first introduced at Ole Kaelo's welcome-home party. He is described as a handsome and intelligent young man widely respected by the people of Nasila. He is also a member of the Imolelian clan and considered a brother to Resian and Taiyo. He teaches the sisters about the customs and culture of the Maa people. Finally, he gives his life to save Taiyo, whom he loves.


Supeyo is Ole Kaelo's younger brother. He is a minor character, but his relationship to his brother is important. Supeyo took care of the family and business in Kaelo's absence, and for this Kaelo respects him.


Minik is a character with an almost mythic quality. She is one of the few Maa women who have not been circumcised and is therefore an outcast. Yet, she attended Makerere University and started a farm that takes in runaway girls fleeing arranged marriages and circumcision. She plays a crucial role when she takes in Resian and Taiyo at the end of the narrative and protects them from the mob.