Blossoms of the Savannah

Blossoms of the Savannah Summary and Analysis of Chapters 10-13


The day arrives when Oloisudori has planned to pick up Resian from the Kaelo household arrives—unbeknownst to either daughter.) Resian becomes increasingly anxious about her future while Taiyo continues to stall the conversation about Egerton University. A bird called the olmultut lands on the Kaelo’s gate which, according to Joseph Parmuat, is a bad omen. After her conversation with Joseph, Taiyo is in good spirits, unaware of the impending marriage.

That day, Taiyo and Resian go to work at the shop. In the afternoon, the girls walk home and encounter two large men carrying clubs. They recognize one of the men as the stranger who grabbed them on their first trip into Nasila. The two men grab the girls, who scream for help as one of the men drags Taiyo into a bush. Just then Olarinkoi appears and fights off the attackers, saving Taiyo and Resian. The girls return home in tears and decide that they must convince their parents to let them attend Egerton University and escape Nasila.

Ole Kaelo goes to his mentor Supeyo and asks him to purchase his inventory thus relieving him of his debt to Oloisudori, but Supeyo refuses. Mama Milanoi seeks the guidance of Simiren’s wives who suggest that the girls come to live with them. For the next few days, Resian and Taiyo live with their uncle Simiren’s family and begin to see some of the positive aspects of Nasila culture and family life.

Ole Kaelo gathers the men of the Imolelian clan. He and Joseph Parmuat lead a search party to find the men who tried to assault his daughters. The men conclude that the assailants are likely two men named Ntara and Kanyira. The mob eventually tracks down and confronts the two men who grovel at the feet of two elders. The two men are beaten badly but not killed. In a strange twist, Ole Kaelo discovers that Ntara is actually Taiyo and Resian’s cousin on their mother's side. Sparing the young man’s life turns out to have prevented major escalation and inter-tribal war.

The elders of the tribe decide that the punishment for the two boys will be a payment of two heifers each. Meanwhile, Ole Kaelo begins to realize that he is powerless against Oloisudori and decides that he can do nothing to stop the marriage from occurring short of losing his business and his home. The two girls learn of the punishment and demand that the boys be taken to the police and tried for their crime but are overruled by the tribe.

Oloisudori makes a sudden announcement that he is coming to pick up his bride two weeks earlier than originally planned and asks that Resian prepare dinner. Ole Kaelo tells Resian that she must make dinner for his business partner, but still does not tell his daughter that she is going to marry Oloisudori.

Oloisudori arrives with an escort of four cars, each driven by a member of his private security. He comes bearing gifts of elegant fabrics for each member of the Kaelo family, and to Resian he also gifts several pieces of jewelry including a ring. After the meal, Ole Kaelo calls on Taiyo who, once again, tries and fails to raise the issue of Egerton University. He also speaks to Resian and tells her that since she is now 19, they must discuss her future. Resian asks her father if Taiyo or Yieyo had spoken to him about her attending school. Ole Kaelo gets upset and ends the conversation, yet again skirting the issue of her marriage.


When the olmultut bird lands on the Kaelo’s gate, it foreshadows two major plot developments. The first event is the attempted sexual assault of Taiyo and Resian by Ntara and Kanyira, and the second is Oloisudori’s arrival and impending marriage to Resian. Up until this point, Taiyo and Resian have struggled with but ultimately tolerated life in Nasila.

Recall that during the first encounter the two men threaten the sisters and tell them that they are unwelcome in Nasila because they are uncircumcised and therefore deemed impure. The flawed reasoning behind female genital mutilation is that by removing a woman’s ability to experience pleasure from sexual activity, women are made pure. In other words, the intention is to make intercourse purely an act of reproduction rather than one of love or gratification. Not unlike the doctrine of original sin in Christianity, the reasoning behind FGM is that the natural state of women is flawed and must be “fixed.”

It is important to note that the right of men to experience pleasure from intercourse is never questioned. Thus, FGM becomes a tool for men to control and assert power over women. By asserting their right to bodily autonomy, Resian and Taiyo are opposing the power and authority of Nasila men. Instead of submitting to the attempts of these men to control their bodies, Ntara and Kanyira’s threats only strengthen Resian and Taiyo’s resolve and opposition to FGM.

With all this in mind, we can now return to the attempted assault. When Ntara and Kanyira attack the girls on their way home, the two men are attempting to assert their power over Resian and Taiyo. They are seeking to show the sisters that their violation of Nasila customs will not go unpunished. After Olarinkoi saves the girls from assault, Resian and Taiyo return home to find another problem: Oloisudori has arrived to pick up Resian as his bride.

The cultural aspect of arranged marriages may appear strange to Western readers. Regardless, the reader should make an effort to understand the cultural importance of the institution within the Maa culture. From the perspective of Ole Kaelo and the Nasila elders, Ole Kaelo is fulfilling his duty as a father to prepare his daughters for marriage.

Kaelo is also working with Oloisudori to enrich himself via fraudulent government contracts. Thus, Kaelo is not, in fact, acting to fulfill his fatherly duty. Ole Kaelo knows that allowing Oloisudori to marry Resian is wrong, but does it anyway to protect his business.

After the two men attempt to assault Taiyo and Resian, the men of Nasila come together to punish the assailants. If one is to condemn the Maa culture for its unfair treatment toward women, one should also acknowledge its attempt to provide retribution (however incomplete) and administer justice. By sparing the lives of the two attackers, the elders prevent further violence and inter-tribal war.