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Literature in English

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raymond Caleb Ayodele Charley was born in 27th March 1948. He schooled in Sierra Leone capital of Freetown and onwards in Leads University London. He studied theatre Arts. He worked as a civil servant in the ministry of Education before being appointed as a lecturer in the department of dramatic Arts of Milton Mar gal Teacher Training College. He was a regular in many theatre plays. He led his group to display this work in FESTAC 1977 in Lagos. It won the best play in the tournament.

THE PLOT/STORY LINE – SEQUENCE OF EVENT

The play centres on a white man named Whitehead who has come to exploit the rural community of Mando of their natural endowment Diamond. Mr. Whitehead plans to play on their intelligence by using their ignorance to achieve his selfish ambition.

The play opens with Maligu the Kings adviser who announces the reception of a letter from an imaginary Whiteman who has indicated interest to come and live among them in the village without disclosing his main reason.

Maligu uses his position to convince the chief priest. He urges him to dam the consequences of the actions of the spirits. With much persuasion Soko the priest agrees to prophecy that the spirit has consented to welcome the stranger having set aside its precious order that no stranger must be welcome to habit with the people of Mando Land. The priest Soko has earlier prophesied that any attempt by Mando people to welcome a visitor well breed mysterious sickness, disease and war.

Because of the confidence the Mando people repose on their priest who has been the mouth piece of their fore fathers, they agree to welcome the visitor in their midst.

Kindo the son of the king, the heir apparent and the chief of the warriors casts his doubt on the change of mind of the spirits. He bases his doubt on the questionable character of both Soko and Maligu since both of them are corrupt.

But the king Santigi is in agreement that the stranger should come. Kindo puts in strong argument to support the former position of the gods.

The king’s verdict is final. Kindo sends out warriors to fetch them to the palace. The Whiteman arrives but decides to rest for a day before seeing the king. His right hand man arrives without observing the official protocol of African homage to the king. This man called Parker receives flogging in consequence. Kindo compels the Whitehead to portray before the king allowing his head to touch ground. Having been admitted, Mr. Whitehead orders for gin and hard drug, tobacco and offers it to the people. The adverse effect of this changes the rightful conduct of the people. They begin to behave abnormally, so much so that the women lose their virtue. Kindo gets angry and confronts white head but he absolves himself from their abnormal behaviour expressing that they did not reject the offer.

Parker and white head visit the king. The king reminds Whitehead about his promises, of building schools, plant tobacco and to help the villages. He informed the king that he can only fulfil the promise if the people embrace hard work as a way of life. As the king departs to address the people, whitehead reveals to Maligu that his real motive for coming is Diamond deposit which is everywhere in the soil realizing that Kindo will be the major obstacle in the realization of this dream, they plot to eliminate him. The king returns and is given tobacco and hard drug by whitehead just to make him happy whitehead using Maligu, tries to rape Wara, Kindo’s woman. He plans to sacrifice Soko and Parker. He instigates Parker to kill Soko the priest. Kindo gets information about this, and rushes to the shrine. He kills Parker, come to the King to unveil whitehead’s secret plan but Maligu accuses him of murdering a strange Parker. He uses his weight as the chief warrior by pointing out the activities with his warriors just to obey the king’s order.

 

THEME

EXPLOITATION

Exploitation is a situation whereby an individual or group of individual, race or colour derives certain benefits, pleasure or leisure from the industry of another person, group of persons, race or colour. It involves eating from another person’s sweat, treasure, land or labourer, or mineral deposits such as diamond.

Whitehead realizes that there is enormous Diamond deposit in Mando community; he craftily begins to convert it. He used the tool of western education by deceiving the semi-educated Maligu who has become the king’s adviser because of his exposure to Western education. Maligu a man of corruption decides to contaminate the chief priest Soko with his corruption virus.

In their greed for wealth, they change the verdict of gods for their own selfish end. They begin to collect money from whitehead continuously having lied to the people that the gods Have changed their previous order that no stranger should come and co-habit with the people of Mando.

Mr. Whitehead succeeds in manipulating the King’s adviser and the priest and secures a smooth passage to the King. He wins the King on his side. He however faces opposition in the hand of the King’s son who is also the head of the warriors. Kindo the king’s son refuses to be manipulated. He insists that the verdict of the gods cannot be altered to suit a stranger.

Mr. Whitehead policy of exploitation leads him to offer fake promises of building school to the people, establishing large tobacco farms and of course assisting them both economically and socially.

These laudable promises are to enable him gain access into the diamond deposit on Mando land. When however, the king desires to see the fruit of those promises he began to attach conditions to their realization. He first of all demands that the people must prove themselves as hard working or industrious people.

As Kindo intensifies his doubt over Whitehead’s mission in their land, the Whiteman sees his interest being threatened. He calls for the head of Kindo. He plots the death of Soko the priest and equally the death of his interpreter Parker just to ensure that Kindo is linked to the death of one of them in order to face capital punishment of being banished from Mando land so that he can carry on his policy of exploitation without any interference or obstruction.

His wicked plan fails him because Kindo’s wisdom and destiny outsmarts his craftiness. Kindo has been able to discover his plot of assigning Parker to kill Soko. He Kindo then kills Parker in revenge. The information gets to the king that Kindo has murdered Parker; the king ordes the banishment of Kindo his son.

Being the head of the warriors, Kindo reserves a right to address the people of Mando land before obeying the expulsion order of the king. He addresses the people and exposed the wickedness of the connivance or the secret plot between the duo to exploit Mando land of it rich natural resources Diamond.

This exposes whitehead as a man desiring not to live. Kindo strikes him down before the people and proceeds on the exile with the warriors.

The play is laden with the imagery of colonial powers, Britain and the policy of imperialism .they came with ulterior motive of evangelizing, educating and developing Africa only to end up exploiting Sierra Leone nayAfrica of its enormous resources for the development of Europe. This policy is in line with the establishment of Enugu, the capital of the former eastern of Nigeria. They came to evangelize, educate but ended up in snatching the ngwo people of Enugu, Nigeria their coal at iva-valley with the construction of rail along the palm-belt downward to sea in Port Harcourt for the overall development of British Empire. Till today the people of iva-valley live in shanties and in a degraded condition.

SELFISHNESS AND DECEIT

Maligu and soko are both selfish. After receiving the letter, maligu takes it to soko the priest. He informs him of the need to deceive the people for them to receive money form the whiteman. Soko tries to absolve himself but maligu lets him realize that he sokois not completely innocent as he has been deceiving the king and the people that he sleeps in the cave while in the actual fact he sleeps in his hut. Realizing that his reputation will be dragged to the mud, he agrees to join him to deceive the people.

They both plot to deceive the people that the gods have set aside the original order they have given to the people that no stranger should visit the land let alone living in the land.

They convince the king who inturn allows white head to come. In the end soko lost his life, while the gain maligu desires to gain from the white man didn’t last as the white head deceiver uses his head to pay for deceit.

SETTING

The story is set on Sierra Leone rural community of mando land. Of colonial it is at the advent of incursion into Africa using religion as a subterfuge to achieve their exploitative tendencies of African rich natural resource.

AUTHOR’S STYLE

He employs the use of simple words. He also employs the languages of the local English to reflect the people he is discussing. He also employs figure of speech such as simile, metaphor, irony, epigram, apostrophe, and symbols.

CHARACTERIZATION

MALIGU

He is the king’s adviser who misdirected him to set aside the former pronouncement of the gods in preference to corrupt claim he has fabricated. He is the originator of the woes that betides wara, soko, and parker and of course white head. He informs soko the priest to prophecy that the gods desires to welcome a certain visitor that people must accept. He craftily flatters soko to ‘’talk to people. Your voice is the voice of unearthly wisdom. It is the voice of the spirits of our forefathers. You divine the fate of the land. The people kneel with hope in obeisance when you perform your weird incantations and rites. They believe everything that you say and do. Where is that wisdom ? you are not…’’ with the above oratory deceit, soko succumbs and volunteers to carry on his wills and that of the white head unquestionably. His advice that soko should summon the people is followed to the letter….. tomorrow, you will summon the people and tell them that you see a stranger, approaching and that he must be received because the spirit ofour forefather say that harm will befall us if we drive him away. Leave the rest to me.’’

As an opportunist, he connives with the white head and plans the separation of wara kindo’s woman from his lover {kindo}. They act in unison to plot the death of soko, plan to kill parker and realizing that kindo has discovered their game plan, he urges the king to banish kindo thereby forcing him to embark on exile.

Maligu is selfish. After he has realized that white heads sole purpose of coming is not to build school for the people or plant tobacco but to exploit the people’s labour to extract diamond, he agrees with the white head to kill soko who he considers a threat to the major gain. He again realizes that the thrown will be vacant after the departures of kindo since the death of the aged king is imminent; he pressurizes the king to send kindo parking so that he will become the next king to enjoy the proceed of the white heads income tax. Kindo will certainly fight with the last drop of his blood to stop him. ‘’ I go now my people, but I shall come back. The king will soon die and you will make maligu the king. Then I shal come back with my warriors to take the crown, which belongs to me.’’

SOKO

He is the village priest. He is not honest. Tradition bestow on him to stand as the voice of the gods to the people. This demand that he should be sleeping in the cave instead of in hi hut. Most often soko abandons this obligation and continues to sleep in his house, but he makes the people believe that he has been living with the gods and discussing with them. Unknown to him certain top officers of the palace are aware that he has not been performing this role.

 

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See also

INTRODUCTION TO AFRICA DRAMA – HARVEST OF CORRUPTION

The themes and characterization of the novel

THE SETTING OF NATIVE SON BY RICHARD WRIGHT

The plot of Native Son by Richard Wright

Introduction to Literature

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