What are some of the injustices faced by women drawing illustration from the novel, The River and the Source by Margaret Ogolla
Outrageous customs and the iron fist of men have subjected women to numerous injustices. From temple prostitution to forced commercial sex workers and sex slaves, women have more often been subjected to the wrath of man ever since the curse in the Garden of Eden. However, there have been numerous attempts by women to turn the cards to favour them. Right from Hellen of Troy in Greek mythologies, to Cleopatra, to Catherine the Great to Mekatilili wa Menza and Syokimau women have tried to prove how equal to task they are as compared their male counterparts. Despite this, there is still a long way to go given that USA has never had a female president despite having had 44 presidents. The River and the Source displays such injustices in a tale that spans four generations.
To begin with, the expectations of a girl is some communities are very little. For instance, when Akoko is born her father, who already had seven sons, thought that it was another boy. In his expectations, he never dreamt of fathering a girl. Secondly, Nyabera is forced to flee her matrimonial home because she has nothing to cling to. Despite having a girl child to her deceased husband Okumu, she leaves because of the insecurity she feels as a sonless mother. Remember, Ogoma Kwach had vowed to make sure that she gets a son to make claim of her wealth. Awiti, her daughter owned nothing.
Furthermore, Akoko, despite having an infant grandson, loses claim to her wealth which is ravenously dug into by the greedy brother-in-law’s family. She has no one to fight for her until she seeks help from the white administration.
One of the major responsibilities of women is to sire children. The other roles are secondary. In fact, the term fertilization was coined to mean that men plant a seed of a child into a woman who grows into the mother’s uterus, that is women contribute nothing whatsoever to the upbringing of the child. In this regard, despite her being reckless, Alando the wife of the late Owang Sino, had no claim to her son Owour Sino. That is why, regardless of her feelings, she had to go away leaving her young boy behind. Secondly, the family of chief Owour Kembo is embittered by Akoko propensity to sire children- the lack of children which is equated to the number of cattle given as bride price makes the mother-in-law angry and bitter. Akoko is not celebrated for her beauty and industry but she is ridiculed for her lack of regularity in delivering children one child after another.
Finally, Mark Anthony Oloo Sigu engages in extramarital relationship knowing extremely well the implications. When the said concubine claims to be pregnant mark is overwhelmingly angry that he sends her out of his house. If the girl had been pregnant then, it could be a case of a single mother struggling to raise a child while the man responsible enjoys his life without consideration of how tedious it is for a single mother to raise a child- a situation Mark had landed Elizabeth into as he enjoyed life in Nakuru.
Therefore, despite their challenges, women have struggled to make the wheels of change revolve. With a little help, as we see Aoro do to his wife, women can reach the stars.