Gender Bias in Blossoms of the Savannah

Question: “Gender bias is tantamount to violation of human rights.” Write an essay in support of the assertion drawing illustrations from Blossoms of the Savannah by H. R. Ole Kulet.

Discrimination of women and girls based on their gender often amounts to human rights violation. In Ole Kulet’s Blossoms of the Savannah, male characters use gender as grounds to deny women education, freedom of choice and to physically violate female bodies as this essay will illustrate.  

Girls are denied their freedom of choice by being forced into marriage like Resian who is forced to marry Edward Oloisudori. When Oloisudori comes to collect his returns from Ole Kaelo, he sets his eyes on Resian and immediately decides to claim her hand in marriage instead of the monetary agreement. Ole Kaelo, having no other option, decides to dance to Oloisudori’s tune. He forces Resian and insists that he has to marry Oloisudori so as to secure his wealth. Oloisuidori even goes ahead to pay Resian’s dowry without her knowledge to which Kaelo agrees to. Kaelo forces her to marry Edward thus violating her right to choose. Resian resists this planned forced marriage and runs away from home. 

In the Maa community boys are given privilege and favors over the girls thus violating their right to equality. When Resian was born her father immediately detests her as he had expected a male child. The mere fact of Resian’s birth gender annoys her father and it is for this reason that she has to endure the torture in the house. Kaelo constantly reprimands her over the slightest of mistakes. Had Kaelo had a male child, he would have treated him better. Ole Supeyo also shows the boy child privilege as he has educated all his male children and instead his daughters have been subjected to FGM and early marriages. Supeyo chases away Minik as she tries to intervene to save the daughters. This preference of the boys over the girls is indeed contravening the rights of the girls. 

Ole Kaelo denies his daughters the right to education despite their passion to pursue higher education at Egerton University. Resian kept on reminding Taiyo to ask her father to grant them permission to go back to school but Taiyo had not been forthcoming to fulfill her promise. After her confrontation with Edward Oloisduri after the failed betrothal, she goes to her father’s shop and he blatantly denies her request to go back to school. Kaelo says the marriage is more important than her education. Her father refusing to take the girls to school is a clear violation of their right to education. The girls’ dreams are however fulfilled when Minik enrolls them to Egerton University. 

Lastly, Taiyo’s body is violated when she is forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). After Resian runs away from home, Ole Kaelo expects Taiyo to marry Oloisudori to save her father’s wealth. Oloisudori had demanded that Taiyo gets circumcised before marriage. Mama Milanoi tricks her daughter into getting forcefully and brutally mutilated and kept under the guard of Oloisuidori’s men. This is clearly a violation of her rights as the act is done to her without her consent and is also betrayal from her own mother. She is saved from the intended forced marriage by Minik’s men and taken to her ranch. FGM causes her much physical pain, memory loss and trauma as she has to undergo counseling to recover from the ordeal. This shows how dehumanizing this practice is, and as it was done forcefully it is indeed a violation of Taiyo’s and other girls rights.  

The above examples illustrate that some cultural practices in Nasila like female genital mutilation and forced marriages often lead to violation of women’s right to education, expression and choice.

An essay by Chris Hani Misama Ogweno (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *