Sample KCSE Essay question -The River and the Source


QUESTION: “A woman is the driving force in the society’’ discuss the validity of this statement basing your arguments in Margaret Ogola’s The River and the source.

Sample answer by Mwaura Karagu -Guest writer

The woman is a source of inspiration, influence and power in the society. This is exhibited in the text The River and the Source through characters such as Akoko, Vera, Wandia and Nyabera

From the moment Akoko is born, she is a big influence in her surroundings. She becomes the focal point of her family. Her father and brothers are stolen by her charm. She changes her father’s attitude towards the girl child when he says “A home without a daughter is like a river without a source.” Akoko affects her generation. She is a source of inspiration for her daughter Nyabera, her granddaughter Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s children notably Aoro. Wandia says that Aoro keeps saying that he is not a great grandson of Akoko for nothing. This is to mean that even after her death, she is still influenced. She allows Nyabera to join Christianity and Peter to become a priest. She is an influence in the lives of the people she interacts with.
Vera takes after her great grandmother. She is an influence. She is so determined to become an electric engineer and she becomes. She decides to become celibate and joins the Opus Dei. After Becky’s death she takes over her (Becky’s) children though they stay with Aoro and Wandia. This shows that she, as a woman, is a force in the society.
Nyabera is a source of inspiration to her children and grandchildren. She takes charge of Peter after the death of her brother Owing Sino and after he is left by his mother Ayando Nyar Uyoma who goes to remarry elsewhere. She is an embodiment of strength, determination and patience. She goes through a lot of pain as a woman and she becomes the focal point from where Elizabeth gets her strength. She is a big influence to the generations that succeed her.
Wandia is another source of inspiration for her society. She beats Aoro in an anatomy class and that is the beginning of what they share later in life. She is a source of inspiration for her husband and children. She later becomes a pediatrician. She becomes the first woman to head the department of Pathology in the University of Nairobi. She also takes in Becky’s children Johnny and Alicia without any condition. This shows that she is the driving force in the society.

In conclusion, the woman is not just there to be seen but as an influence in the society despite the society being patriarchal.

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