CHARACTER AND CHARACTERISATION: River and the source by Margaret Ogola

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1. OWUOR KEMBO
He is the chief of Sakwa. At young age he had to personally go to Yimbo to negotiate for Akoko to become his wife. Owuor with Akoko get three children; Obura who died in 1919, Nyabera and Owang’ Sino. He dies leaving the chieftaincy to Owang’ Sino
Character traits
Considerate/Keen/Generous
He listens to the council of jodongo before he makesany decision. When he is told of the antecedents of Akoko he listens keenly and every word of the Jawng’yo, the spy, goes to his making what will be his ultimate decision-to marry Akoko no matter the cost. His choice of words reveals a person who is thoughtful before he speaks. He generously accepts to the 30 head of cattle of bride without negotiations. He is ready to share his office with the family of Otieno Kembo, he tells the elders that Otieno has many children who can take over chieftaincy in case his own son is taken away.
Decisive/Proud/A Man of Honor
Chief Owuor Kembo decides to surprise his in-laws by paying the suggested bride price. this reveals to us his pride an devaluation of life. He is the kind of a person who takes challenges easily as long as he knows the value of the challenge. In so doing, he earned the respect of Yimbo and admiration of Sakwa and above all the love of Akoko. Chief Odero Gogni tells Oloo, his Spokesman to set the bride price at 30 so as he can trim the pride of this people from Savanna land.
When he visits Yimbo he stands upright exuding respect and honour. The writer says he was obviously a man of Nyadhi.
Stubborn/Incorrigible/Quick to Anger When Provoked
Chief Owuor Kembo stubbornly remains monogamous in a land that worships polygamy. This is aggravated by the fact that Akoko, however beautiful, was not the kind of a woman who easily got children and therefore the children came in sparingly.
Despite pleas for his mother and incessant calls from the council of jodongo, Owuor sticks to his decision of having only one wife. He was in position of marrying more wives but he was satisfied by having only one wife a condition that almost caused him to smite his mother out of anger.
This incident occurred when Owuor arrived home to find his wife missing. He learns that she had had to leave after being accused by the mother-in-law of being a juok. After his anger was calm, he called the council of Jodongo and wisely consulted, stubbornly insisting that he should bring the mother of his children back regardless of the dissents among the elders.
Loving/Accommodating/Caring/Friendly/Wise/Brave
Owour loved his wife so much that he did not further wish her any more pain when she gave birth to Owang’ Sino after a laborious labour. He decided not to try and make any more children. He persistently remains monogamous despite the incessant calls from the people of Sakwa because of his feeling for Akoko. He is satisfied by her. Akoko is treated as a queen and she does not disappoint in contrast Otieno Kembo treats his wives like sluts and they do not disappoint either.
Owuor likes to sit around with his wife and listen not only to her voice but also to the wise counsel she espouses. He makes friends with her and after the evening meal he would go to her house to talk. A wonderful man indeed!
He carefully advises Obura to forsakes his dreams about seeing the world and concentrate on getting ready to be chief after he is gone. He does not use force over his child but let’s Obura speak his mind.
2. OBURA
Obura is the first born son of Owuor Kembo and AKoko Obanda. He joins Kenya African Rifles (KAR) where he does in war in 1919.
He was down to earth/obedient
Despite being the son of a chief, Obura does not use his position to intimidate his friends but treats them with respect and us equals. He obeys his parents command.
Loving/expressive
He loves his parents and he is very apt. he likes his mother and feels comfortable with especially when expressing his thought s and feelings.
Early Riser/Hardworking
Akoko ensures that Bora is not a lay about. Even though they had servants, Akoko made sure that some of the chores were done by Obura or that Obura helped in looking after her humongous her. In this regard, Obura appreciated hard work and always woke up early.
Sturbbon/decisive/friendly/social
Obura decides to make a voyage out of Sakwa and see the world. He is talked out of it by both parents who thereafter believe that the boy is reformed only for him to go missing one day. He inherited his father stubborn behavior. He is friendly and overly social interacting with the likes of Nyaroche where he learns of the Jorochere, the Whiteman.
3. OTIENO KEMBO
The brother to chief Owour Kembo and chief of Sakwa after the death of Owang’ Sino
Greedy
Otieno kembo is avaricious. He envies his brother’s wealth an unashamedly uses it to marry more wives. His greed for power surpasses reason and he steps into Akoko’s wealth when all her sons and husband die. He marries two more wives in quick succession when he is ordained as the custodian of the chief’s stool.
Inconsiderate/malicious/unreasonable
Despite having not worked in building the wealth of his brother, he relishes it as his own. He and his family expect the Owuor Kembo’s to pay bride price for his sons. Outrageous enough, with mature sons he has no sense of reason but to continue marrying women.
Coward/insensitive
He fears Akoko despite her small body. When Akoko rouses the whole village in the morning, he threatens to teach her a lesson but grows cold feet when she confronts him. He also fears to confront AKoko when he learns that she had reported him to the DO.
Chauvinist/abusive
He does not value women; he treats his wives like sluts while his brother treats his wife like a queen. He does consider the situation of his women and that is why, in Akoko’s words, they go borrowing food in the house of the money due to the number of children growing in his house hold. He abusive Akoko when she threatens to go back to her people in Yimbo.
4. NYABERA ODERO MARY
She is daughter to Owour Kembo and Akoko. She gets married to Okumu Angolo where she gets an only child Awiti after all the other children died. She is inherited by Ogoma Kwach but decides to leave her matrimonial home after Ogoma Kwach is accused of neglecting his wife for her.
Kind/generous/loving
Nyabera loves children and while young willingly shares her food with them. She loves her daughter Elizabeth and feels so bad when Elizabeth is to join a teachers training college. Her love for children makes her fear that Elizabeth, with her education, might not get a husband. Her love for children makes her, despite the many deaths in her children, as a married woman to Okumu, inheritance with Ogoma to still try her luck which again turns out disappointing.
Considerate/patient/determined/relentless
She looks at the mess she had created by involving herself deeply with Ogoma Kwach and realizes the pain she could have caused his (Ogoma) wife and children. She decides to opt out.
She is patient but determined get children despite the fact that all her children die after living for some time.
She does not give upon her quest to get more children until when on the third man, she decides to give up to fate and take care of her Awiti.
Visionary/calculating/approachable
She makes a decision to join Christianity after getting some information from Pilipo. In her new religion, she contemplates that her mother Akoko might love the idea. She goes to Yimbo to get her mother, daughter and nephew.
Owuor ‘ Sino is confides in her about his plan to join priesthood. He finds courage in her (Nyabera) to go and speak to his grandmother about going to the seminary.
5. OWUOR SINO (PETER OWOUR KEMBO)
He is the son to Owang’ Sino and Alando nyar Uyoma. He is later renamed Petro Owour Sino then Peter Owuor Kembo after he joined the seminary.
Humble/conscious
He is a humble boy who is conscious about the feelings of others. He changes his mind about chieftaincy but is reluctant to tell his grandmother whom he cares about how she will react to such an act of betrayal.
Caring/Loving
He loves his grandmother and feels horrible about hurting her with his change of mind. He cares about her hopes and dreams to rebuild her shattered life in Sakwa.
Pious/dedicated/bright
He performs well academically. He looks a promising student. He decides to follow religion which he has dedicated most of his time studying and obeying.
Decisive
He makes a hard and lifelong decision to live a celibate life despite his family’s lack of male history.

6. OWANG’ SINO
He is the last born to Akoko and Chief Owuor Kembo. He became Chief in his father stead. He dies after choking on a fish bone.
Eager to please/Ready to please
As a young boy he was always calm and eager to please. After the death of Aoro he tries his best to be the image of Aoro or a better person for he lived in the shadow of his (Aoro’s) fame. When he becomes chief he is good to his subjects like his predecessor but the people of Sakwa get shocked when he chokes on a fish bone and dies.
Loving/considerate/an apple of his father’s eye
He glows with pride when his father is around. He knows that with the death of his brother, a young man of repute, a huge responsibility had been bestowed on him (Owang Sino)
His leadership therefore is without incident. He shows love and consideration to his subjects and tries as much as he can to earn their love.
Submissive/tolerant
He is not rebellious and does not exercise his will like his brother. He follows the dictates of chik and marries as soon as was deem fit. He takes over his responsibility as chief and subjects himself to making his people happy.
6. AWITI, ELIZABETH
She is the only child of Nyabera. She becomes and teacher and later married Mark Anthony Oloo Sigu from Seme. She was baptized Elizabeth.
Hardworking/dedicated
She works hard in school and achieves the highest level of education at the time for a girl.
Focused/vision-oriented
She does not deter from her dream of success in life. She steadily progresses avoiding any interruptions from the overtures from the boys around until she meets Mark Anthony Oloo Sigu.
Loving/caring
She loves her husband and cares about her children. She understands Mark Sigu even when he cheats on her. She works at bringing a united her. She is the first one to get up when Anthony is attacked by acute appendicitis.
She comes to Aoro’s rescue when he faints before his father.
Strict disciplinarian/conciliator/observant
She reports Aoro to his father and takes a cautious background while he is being punished. Though she allows Mark to be as strict as a military man he is, she also comes to the aid of the children. She gives Aoro and Anthony when they are denied food for not taking care of Oloo and Opiyo.
She reconciles Becky and Vera when the two get into a confrontation.
Social/accommodating/friendly/magnificent host
She gets acquainted to Wandia in the shorts time and the two hit out a conversation like old friends who have just been reunited. Wandia was AKoko while Awiti was Awiti of the old. Their friendship blossoms into a kind that exists between a mother and a daughter until when she dies, Wandia faints.
When in what could be viewed as sheer coincidence the family of the Sigus have a small unexpected re-union, she cooks a lot of food for the family and generously shares savors the moment
During her burial, many people who knew her, old and young came to share the grief of the Sigus. Her contribution as a teacher and disciplinarian and accommodating nature was seen in the number of those who came to mourn.

7. MARK ANTHONY OLOO SIGU
He is the husband to Elizabeth Awiti. He was in the army. He left the army and was recruited to work in Nakuru. He has seven children with Elizabeth Awiti.
Determined/exuberant/Witty
He relentlessly wrote to Awiti until she replied to his letters. His uncle says that they trusted his judgment on issues and that is why when he told them that he had found a girl, they came to negotiate on his behalf. While talking with Akoko, Akoko is seen to have heard a happy laughter and gay eyes showing just how much Akoko approved of his witticism.
Strict/Tough/ambivalent
He does not condone laziness and indiscipline. He punitively punishes Aoro and Anthony when they err. He almost sends Aoro to his death with starving when the boy is suspended from school.
However, he gets to soft with Mary until Becky wonders loudly what Mary could do to get punished. Becky feared Mark’s toughness that after her A-level, she had to run away from home to further her career as an air hostess- a profession Mark was against.
Vera on the other hand, was level headed enough to ask her father whether she could go on a date with her boyfriend Anthony Muhambe.
Industrious/Disciplined/Flexible
He works hard to provide for his family. He ensures that besides food on the table and comfortable house, all his children have achieved education to the highest level. His value in education is shown when he insists that Becky must do her A-levels.
He disciplines himself to love only his wife after a short lived rendezvous with a certain girl. He also ensures that, his work ethics and competence are adhered to hence earning him the deserved promotion.
When Kenya achieves her independence, Mark takes a correspondence school to enhance his expertees at work. This shows his dynamism to embrace change and also meet the goals of the rapidly dynamic world.
Purpose driven/Loving/Caring
He loves his family and wife. He makes them comfortable and offers a sence of security. His purpose in life is to take care of the welfare of his family. He does this by directing his energy at work.
His is a rather caring parent too. When Elizabeth gets complications with her last pregnancy he does everything in his power to be with her. This makes his love for Mary to hit the roof because of how delicate the situation had been.

8. AORO SIGU
He is the second born son of Elizabeth and Mark. He studies hard to become a doctor. He meets Wandia Mugo Medical school thereafter the two gets married and have four children; Daniel, Alicia, Mugo and Kipusa.
Playful/Innovative/Keen Observer/Naughty/Mischievous
Aoro and Tony love playing just like any other young people. Their mischief lands them in trouble, when Oloo almost drowns as the two elder boys had gone on their separate ways.
He observes Tony’s stitches after he had come from hospital with interest and with a dexterity that was amazing, managed to successfully operate on a frog.
Bright/competitive/relentless
He is always at the top of his class making distinctions in sciences, a feat that is highly regarded in Kenya, which lands him to medical school.
In medical school he meets Wandia Mugo an equally brilliant student. The two are neck to neck in class taking the first two slots. In anatomy, Aoro loses to Wandia.
This defeat makes him take a very tough challenge; dating Wandia. She turns him down severally but Aoro is relentless. He finally wins her over.
Homely/supportive/loving
Aoro decides not to further his studies in Medicine. He takes to private practice. However, he supports his wife’s endeavours to further her career. Wandia says that she almost gave up but his determination and support gave her the agility to go on.
Level headed/Pragmatic
Aoro is level headed. In many societies in Africa, women overachievers are always looked at as loose cannons or feared for their open mindedness. Aoro embraces his wife’s higher educational accolades and respectfully loves her as who she is.
He is pragmatic enough to reason with his father and change Mark’s perception of the Gikuyu.
9. WANDIA MUGO
She is the wife to Aoro and a doctor.
Visionary/Perceptive/High Achiever
Wandia Mugo as a young child wanted to be a doctor and a teacher too. She envisions that as a doctor, she would be able to help her society, as a teacher, she would train future doctors. She works hard to achieve both goals. Additionally, she makes sure that she is at the top of her profession.
Loving/Down-to-earth
Despite learning and getting to the top of her career, she values Aoro who is just a simple doctor.she recognizes the sacrfifce Aoro made for her sake. She stands by Aoro and she is greatful to have him for a husband
Wandia teaches modern women the value of education in life and the essence of respecting men regardless of their low standard in life. She recognizes the fact that, men and women need to treat each other with respect regardless of one’s level of education
Accommodating/easily-embracing
She accepts Aoro even though they were from different tribes. She falls into intimate friendship with Elizabeth Awiti. In fact she finds it hard to accept her death.
She takes in Becky’s children and treats them as her own.

10. VERA
She and Becky are the first children of Mark and Elizabeth. She studies engineering and religiously joins OPUS DEI after breaking up with her long time boyfriend Anthony Muhambe.
Loving/extremely generous
She declines to join the school she was called to so that she can be with Becky. She is overprotective of Becky until when Becky shows her true colour. Regardless, Vera, while at the university, takes the initiative of going to look for Becky at JKIA.
Supportive/Caring/intuitive/observant
She supports those around her, talks to Alicia against her moving to away from home. She also supports Wandia when Daniel gets ill.
She cares for her sister a lot and sacrifices a lot to make sure that Becky is comfortable. For instance, she joins Riverside to be with Becky in the same school.
She keenly observes the relationship between Becky and her children and is forced to intervene.
Sensitive/Decisive/Pragmatic
She gets into a confrontation with Becky which hurts her feelings deeply.
She decides to breaks up with her boy friend and hence decides to join Opus Dei.
She is a realist, she asks her father to go out with Tony. She turns down Tony’s proposal.

11. BECKY
She is twin sister to Vera and an air hostess. She marries John Courtney a Canadian but they are divorced because of her infidelity. She and Courtney have two children Alicia and Johnny Courtney. She dies of HIV/AIDS leaving a large estate to her children.
Sensitive/irrational/self-possessed
Becky is overly self possessed. She gets jealousy of the attention given to Mary. She accuses Vera that Vera always hated her.
She concerns herself with her own wellbeing.
Amorous/Gold Digger/Unfaithful/Visionary
Becky despite her marriage to John Courtney engages in extra-marital affairs. She is divorced and finally dies of HIV/AIDS.
The money she obtains from men is invested in the name of her two children who do not suffer since they get good custodians in the home of the Aoro’s.

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79 thoughts on “CHARACTER AND CHARACTERISATION: River and the source by Margaret Ogola

  1. Usually I do not learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this
    write-up very pressured me to try and do it!

    Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you,
    very nice article.

    1. Just there,
      somewhere u can’t see but can feel,
      with the vigour u can’t adiq but can admire,
      With the spirit u can wish to heir but can’t have,
      She’s somewhere special for she was someone special.

      ©Mr.M™

  2. thank you so much. i love you. and i will vote for you.and also campaign for you my dear okachformusungu please keep us up there! thnks alot. for the support you are doing in education. i have been searching someone like you since i have joined high school. from Garissa Am Ahmed Burale, ICT sec County High School.

  3. thanks alot. your notes are so good and moving. please give us the styles used
    in the river and the source. be blessed
    .

  4. i always confuse the characters but your article helped me to draw a comprehensive family tree.kudos and keep up

  5. the education system proposed will keep students on toes !bt do u knw that it has some limitations,, !?
    (i).a student wil hav his lyf simpl as its easy to cram question in ayear than four years!!
    if iwere given achance to reform this kenyan education,i would ensure that one gets to school to pursue his /her career as one might west alot of money and tym learning and end up being ,joblesd.!!mr presdent hav asecond thought b4 sign the bill!!!!

  6. Wow how great!! please how can I get character and characterization of Caucasian Chalk Circle!! Am in need of it please help thank you

  7. What a great job indeed. You have a lot to offer to us. I’ll appreciate if summarize all the stylistic devices used in the novel

  8. What a great job indeed. You have a lot to offer to us. I’ll appreciate if summarize all the themes in the text

      1. Woow what a wonderful job! Thanks sir. You have made me to understand the Novel. Will you mind posting part one chapter 6 to chapter 12. It is not there. Be blessed.

      2. Thanks a lot. This is a great work. Will you mind if you discuss part one chapter 6 to chapter 12 of the River and the source?

  9. I would like 2 appreciate ua gud work and it has really made it very simple 4 learner to take short time going through the work. please continue helping my fellow students for a better future, may GOD bless ua work

  10. Just there,
    somewhere u can’t see but can feel,
    with the vigour u can’t adiq but can admire,
    With the spirit u can wish to heir but can’t have,
    She’s somewhere special for she was someone special.

    ©Mr.M™

  11. Hey! That Is A Mervellous Job Bravo And Keep It Up May The Almigty Bless You.You Have Really Assisted Us Students And Literature Teacher Understand The Novel Clearly Continue With The Same Spirit

  12. thank you very much have made it easier for me to understand the book may GOD bless (Kisumu Day High)

  13. Nice work there buddy,thumbs up!! Can you also discuss about, “Gender Bias limits both genders in The river and the source???”

  14. My students showed me this blog and I recommended it as enough supplement to their personal analysis on the novel

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