Blossoms of the Savannah

Blossoms of the Savannah Summary and Analysis of Chapters 7-9


Taiyo assures Resian that she will finally raise the issue of attending Egerton university with Ole Kaelo. While Resian and Mama Milanoi prepare lunch, her mother asks Resian what she knows about FGM. Resian says that FGM is an archaic and oppressive practice that must be put to an end. Their conversation is interrupted by a knock at their door.

Oloisudori (Kaelo’s new business partner) arrives at the Kaelo home unexpectedly. Resian informs Oloisudori that her father is not home and politely suggests that he return later. He ignores Resian and says that he will wait for Kaelo inside. Resian serves the uninvited guest tea, and Oloisudori ogles her and makes her feel uncomfortable. Kaelo arrives and Resian leaves to find Taiyo and Joseph.

Joseph Parmuat informs the girls that Oloisudori is a known criminal and extortionist. He is infamous throughout Nasila for his criminal activity and predatory loans. The children return home to find Kaelo still talking with Oloisudori. Afterward, Ole Kaelo and Mama Milanoi assure their daughters that nothing is wrong, but their anxiety is obvious. Kaelo informs his daughters that things are going to change at home, but assures them it is nothing serious.

After Oloisudori leaves, Ole Kaelo informs Mama Milanoi that Oloisudori wants to marry Resian. Ole Kaelo explains that their business is financed by bank loans that rely on Oloisudori’s support. Having ignored Supeyo’s warning to beware of Oloisudori with his criminal background and reputation for robbery and murder, Kaelo must deal with the consequences.

The idea horrifies Mama Milanoi and she remembers when she was 10 years old and an elderly man attempted to court a woman Resian’s age. The Maa women collectively beat the old man and walked him through the town to publicly shame him. Today, the Maa culture has changed such that this system of justice no longer exists. Neither Mama Milanoi nor Ole Kaelo tell their daughters what they have discussed.

Joseph Parmuat continues to educate the girls about Nasila culture and begins to teach Resian and Taiyo traditional Nasila dances. Although present, Resian is unenthused and leaves Taiyo and Joseph as dance partners. Before their lesson one day, Taiyo travels to Joseph Parmuat’s house. She knocks, receives no answer, and enters Joseph’s home. Joseph returns to find Taiyo in his bedroom. She apologies for the intrusion and confronts Joseph about her feelings.

Taiyo professes her love for Joseph and he confesses that he too loves Taiyo. The two discuss the implications of their feelings for one another. Their culture explicitly forbids their relationship (although not blood relatives, their shared clan membership makes them brother and sister in Nasila culture.) Joseph tells Taiyo that he is willing to bear the consequences of loving her, whatever they might be. When Joseph returns home that night, he reflects on his promise to Taiyo and realizes that he cannot turn his back on Nasila culture.


The two major developments in this section are Oloisudori announcing his intention to marry Resian and the conversation between Taiyo and Joseph Parmuat. The Maa culture to which the Kaelo family belongs consists of five sub-clans. According to custom, it is forbidden for Joseph and Taiyo to be together because they both belong to the Ilmolean clan and are, therefore, brother and sister.

In the United States, there are laws prohibiting incest to protect children from abuse. In Nasila, tribal law forbids inter-clan relationships because (unlike in a nuclear family) the family unit is defined not by blood but by clan. Taiyo and Joseph, however, feel the rule is unfair because it conflicts with the feeling of love they have for one another.

Taiyo and Joseph’s love for each other is considered profane by the Maa. Their confession of love is a transgression against traditional Maa culture and carries serious implications. If they were to get married, they would be forced to turn their backs on their clan and forge a new life apart from their clan. This is underscored by Joseph’s internal conflict after their conversation and realization that he cannot choose Taiyo over his family and friends.

The revelation about Oloisudori’s criminal background and his involvement as Kaelo’s business partner is of great concern to Taiyo and Resian. By allowing Oloisudori to marry his daughter, he is rejecting the life he and Mama Milanoi chose when they left Nasila. If he does not allow Oloisudori to marry Resian, he puts his business and livelihood in jeopardy.

The situation creates a conflict between Kaelo’s apparent beliefs in women’s rights and his aspirations for wealth and success. When Ole Kaelo and Mama Milanoi left the village of Nasila to begin a new life in Nakuru, they broke with their cultural heritage. Their monogamous marriage and decision not to circumcise their daughters were incompatible with the traditions of the Ilmolelian clan.

To force Resian into an arranged marriage would mean denying his daughter the freedom to choose her own spouse, a choice he and Mama Milanoi made. Also note that Oloisudori is old enough to be Resian’s father, which seems to violate the normative expectations for marriage in Nasila (e.g. Mama Milanoi’s memory of the old man who was publicly shamed and beaten to death for preying upon young women.)