Irony in Ole Kulet’s Blossoms of the Savannah; A free KCSE sample composition

Irony in Ole Kulet’s Blossoms of the Savannah; A free KCSE sample composition

Question: The author has been able to effectively employ irony to bring out the message of the text. Illustrate the effectiveness of this style in the text.

An essay by Chris Hani Misama Ogweno (

Irony is an important tool when critiquing society. In Blossoms of the Savannah, Ole Kulet employs irony to critique characters and some traditions of the Maa community that goes against readers’ rational expectation.

Ole Kaelo fails in his responsibility as a father to keep his family together and his daughters safe. At the onset of the text we see his clear detest for Resian, his daughter simply because he expected a male child in his place. It is indeed ironic for a parent to have such a clear preference for a child as he should love them equally. He also fails in his protective role when he lets his greed prevail and chooses to sell off Resian to Edward. Kaelo does this to protect the wealth and social class that Oloisudori has given to him. He says that in order for him to protect Taiyo and his wealth then Resian has to go. It is ironic for a father to sell his daughter as we expect Kaelo to protect them at all costs. Eventually he loses his daughters to Minik and ends up breaking up his family.

Mama Jane Milanoi fails as a mother to protect her daughters. Her vow of silence against the atrocities committed to the girls by Ole Kaelo show her failure as a mother. She knows of the girls’ passion to go to Egerton University and promises to mention it to their father but she never does. Mama Jane is aware of Kaelo’s and Oloisudori’s plan to kidnap Resian and force her into the marriage and she still chooses to keep silent. When Resian runs away, Taiyo’s is made the sacrificial lamb. Ironically, it is Mama Milanoi who dupes Taiyo into getting the cut. We expect a mother and a woman to protect her daughters but Mama Jane fails in her role ironically choosing to be submissive and loyal to her husband. She suffers as Taiyo and Resian refuse to consider her as a role model.

It is also ironic that most of the women in the text are their own enemies as they fail to protect their own. Joseph Parmuat observes that FGM was started by women and it is only them who can end it. It is therefore ironic that it is still the women who continue to perpetuate the brutal rite despite knowing very well it has negative effects. During Resian’s outburst, Yeiyo Botorr suggests that there is only one cure for her “kisirani”, that of facing the knife. When Taiyo’s turn came, it is Mama Jane who dupes her and the act was undertaken by the Enkamuratani surrounded by other women as they ululated during the rite. The women of Nasila continue to be blind on a tradition that hurts them more.

Lastly, Olarinkoi at the onset of the text presents himself as a dependable person but changes. Olarinkoi came into the Kaelo household mysteriously with unknown intentions. He earns the girls trust when one day Resian and Taiyo are accosted by vagabonds. Olarinkoi appears and beats the vagabonds up thus saving the two girls from an almost rape incident. When later Resian is stranded by the river he appears and offers her safety. He takes her to Inkiito where he shows his true colors when he comes back home drunk and attempts to rape her. His attempt fails as Resina almost bites off his thumb. It turns out that Olarinkoi’s mum had prophesied his getting married to one of the Kaelo daughters. It turns out that ironically, the initial savior turns to an animal when he attempts to take Resian forcefully. He eventually loses Resian when she is saved by Nabaru.

In conclusion, the author uses irony to highlight the failure of characters such as Ole Kaelo, Mama Milanoi, Oloisudori, and older Naisila women in general  to perform their responsibilities as members of society.

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