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The Subversion of Patriarchy and Women’s Empowerment in Henry Ole Kulet’s Blossoms of the Savannah

Eliah S Mwaifuge

Abstract

This paper builds on the arguments presented by Muriungi and Muriiki (2013) on gender-based violence (GBV) in African literature. Focusing on Ole Kulet‘s Blossoms of the Savannah, Muriungi and Muriiki furnish the particulars of Nasila culture and its effect on women in general terms. They do not explain how the novel attempts to subvert patriarchy and empower women characters. They further demonstrate the way Ole Kulet uses the novel to explore GBV among the Maasai in Kenya. As a result, the novel‘s powerful and deliberate attempt to subvert patriarchy remains largely unexplored. This study, therefore, examines how Ole Kulet‘s Blossoms of the Savannah subverts the patriarchy system of the Nasila culture to empower the projection of the female characters in the novel. In this regards, it is argued that the characters of Taiyo, Resian and Minik are manifestations of the novel‘s rejection of the patriarchy system. Consequently, the novel turns a traditional negative depiction of women into a positive depiction of women. The paper further argues that the novel uses the patriarchy system as a backdrop to subvert the system. In fact, the portrayal of women in the novel is informed by feminists‘ theory of equity between men and women, coupled with the need to foster women‘s dignity. This feminist leaning emboldens the novel‘s rhetorical agenda of subverting patriarchy to empower women characters.

Keywords

patriarchy, empowerment, gender, culture, subversion

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