The Lion and the Jewel

The Lion and the Jewel Character List

Sidi (The Jewel)

A superficial but beautiful young woman in the village of Ilujinle, she is coveted by both Lakunle and Baroka. She initially agrees to wed Lakunle even though she does not care for him, but she is frustrated that he will not pay her bride-price and that he has so many modern ideas. She is extremely proud of her photos in a magazine and becomes increasingly absorbed in them. Along with Sadiku she hopes to trick Baroka, whom she also dislikes and does not want to marry, but he triumphs in the end by raping her, taking her virginity, and having her agree to marry him.


A smart but arrogant twenty-three-year-old schoolteacher who lambasts Ilujinle for its backwards views. He wants the village to be modern, and he wants to wed Sidi and make her a modern wife (though he believes women are naturally inferior to men). He is reluctant to participate in the ways of the village but is usually drawn into them regardless. He despises Baroka and is jealous of him.

Baroka (The Lion)

The wily and powerful Bale (i.e. leader) of the village, Baroka is always on the quest for more wives. He laments getting older and covets the young Sidi. He tricks Sidi and Sadiku, though, and ends up winning Sidi and avenging his shame after she initially refused to marry him.


The chief wife of the Bale, Sadiku is elderly but a great source of comfort to Baroka. She eventually decides to plot against him, though, and tries to get Sidi to destroy him. Her plan is found out, however, and she is shamed.

The Stranger

A photographer who came to Ilunjinle and took many photos of the village and its inhabitants. He was captivated by Sidi and published images of her that are stunningly beautiful.

The Wrestler

Baroka's wrestling companion who wrestles with him to make him stronger; once Baroka can best him, he will be replaced by another fighter.

The Favorite

The Bale's current favorite wife, who is tasked with plucking out his armpit hairs.

The Surveyor

A white man who is heading the building of a railway through the village; Baroka bribes him to abandon the project.