Discuss the role of family in the novel the River and the Source

The River and the Source is a genealogy. The book covers several families in the lineage of Akoko. Families are the basic social unit hence have a lot to contribute to the society. Here are some of the roles of the family as captured by Margaret Ogola.

Firstly, the family determines the continuity of the society. When Akoko gives birth to Obura, the people of Sakwa appreciate given that it was the chief’s family and therefore they are assured of an heir.

Secondly, the family represents prosperity. Akoko’s family represents economic prosperity. She teaches her children to be hardworking and productive. Obura learns to wake up early and when he fails to wake up as scheduled, Akoko gets worried and that was when Obura went missing.

Thirdly, the family represents a strong bond of unity. When Obura goes missing Akoko feels a pain only a mother feels. The chief Owuor Kembo feels shattered and goes into a silent mode. On the other hand, when the news of Obura’s death come, Nyabera is shattered and blames the white man who takes innocent young men who have nothing to do with the war to go and fight in the war they knew little about.

Family also presents transition, the chief Odero gave his girl to the people of Sakwa in marriage. Similarly, Akoko organizes the marriage of Awiti to Antony Oloo Sigu. Aoro too has to visit Wandia’s parents to affirm his commitment in marrying their daughter.

In the other circles, family play a vital role in building love and care. When Aoro and Tony forget about the younger boys, their father gets very punitive on them. He teaches them care which they interpret as a new way of dealing with the younger duo.

The final role of family is responsibility. Mark after his wayward behaviour, learns to be more responsible in taking care of his family. Akoko lived a life of care and motivation to her family. She was more than willing to work hard and make sure that her children had been provided for. Even in old age, when Owuor Sino was itching with the desire to receive her blessings to join priesthood, he found her in the garden.

It is important to note that a family, as portrayed by Ogola is a lineage and does not at all rely on the patrilineal inclination. It however transcend traditional idiosyncrasies and embraces new norms where accommodation and understanding are vital ingredients. The book underscores the values of appreciating both genders equally and not as the Luo had empowered the boy over the girl. It is however laughable where Wandia Mugo seem to be the man of the house and Aoro the woman given that the Agikuyu are known for their matrilineal look in identifying hierarchy of generation.



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