Background of The Blood of a Stranger
Sierra Leone is a very small country square miles situated in the west coast of it is bounded on west and south-west by the Atlantic ocean, on the north-west, north and north-east by the sister republic Guinea and on the east and south-east by the republic of Liberia. The country derive its name from the Freetown peninsula mountain as and described by a Portuguese sailor called Pedro da Cintra. The name meaning lion mountain came into existence in 1462. Sierra Lyoa radually changed to Sierra Leone due to British influence. In 1787
a British philanthropist founded the of Freedom which later became a British Crown Colony in 1808. The British colonial authorities later declared the hinterland (now known as in the provinces) a British protectorate in 1896.
there are about 17 ethnic communities and three language groupings in the country – the mande group, the mel group and others. In traditional rural settings throughout the country, the household
the social unit. It comprises of a man, his wife/wives, children and relatives. The eldest son under the charge of man. Headship Succession of household is passed from father to the eldest son.
After independence in Sierra Leone there was a growing concern on cultural revival because of the effects of on people’s culture. Studies were embarked upon on colonial influence on West African nations. The economic structure these nations were also given due attention and viewed against of the level of materialism displayed by public office holder. Eyebrows were raised exploitative tendencies and unbridled ambition of African leaders for splendours and opulence.
The Western influences on the culture of Sierra Leone were of particular
concern because of the regrettable legacy of colonialism which was demeaning rather than ennobling Sierra Leone From the sixties, African writers produced works to depict the qualities of traditional African society The purpose was to restore pride in the people’s heritage culturally emasculated by the colonialists They are of the opinion that the worth of African culture should not be taken for granted. It is against this broad background that the Sierra Leonean playwright Dele Charley wrote The Blood of a Stranger to contextualize the cultural and economic rape of his country by white men and the noble resistance of his people in the face of internal betrayals and external persistence to steal their diamonds and tribal homeland. The effort is to essentially destroy the myth of white superiority over black people In addition, Sierra Leone has a rich cultural heritage. Creative and performance art is growing among the people, especially the youths. The storytelling tradition here is very rich and lively. Famous storytellers travel the length of the country practising their trade. They attract huge audiences and earn a living from their trade. Attempts have been made to document Sierra Leonean traditional songs, riddles, proverbs and short stories The promotion of Sierra Leonean culture as demonstrated in traditional rural settings are now recorded in novels, drama, music and art. The writing of The Blood of a Stranger is a product of this general cultural and creative renaissance. Its success as a typical reflection of the history and character of Sierra Leone perhaps qualified it to be chosen as the country’s drama entry for FESTAC 77 in Nigeria, where it was adjudged the best drama entry (you are reading Background of The Blood of a Stranger )
The Blood of a Stranger is about the fraudulent activities of a white colonialist exploiter who, showing tremendous disregard for the people’s customs and traditions, wishes to corrupt them with petty gifts, seduce their women, and steal their diamond wealth. It is a compelling spectacle on the stage and also an engaging drama to read. Apart from being a very gripping drama, the play vividly exhibits key aspects of Sierra Leonean history and culture.
PLOT ACCOUNT OF THE BLOOD OF A STRAGER BY DELE CHARLEY
Maligu, the Chief advisor to King Santigi Mando V, declares that an unidentified white man would be their village guest soon, as written him in a letter sent by his brother from the city. He seeks and finds the cooperation of Soko, the priest of the village shrine, to prophesy that the land should welcome this guest. This manipulated prophecy is against the existing spiritual ordinance of the community not to accept visitors, which has been observed since the war in the land. It is a difficult injunction for the people to accept. To them, strangers represent illness, disease, and aggression. However, because Soko is the ordained priest of the village that has always interceded between them and their forefathers, the people have no reason to question or doubt his divination; their forefathers must have sent this vision. They prepare therefore to welcome the visitor. Kindo, chief warrior and son of the king, feels otherwise and senses something is wrong
because of the strange alliance between Soko and Maligu on this news. Knowing that the two are fraudulent and dishonest, Kindo becomes suspicious of Soko’s claim that he received the vision to admit the stranger into Mando land. The white man symbolically called Whitehead, arrives and show little or no respect for the culture and traditions of the land. Kindo forces him to order and a seed of discord between them is sown. Whitehead soon takes Maligu into confidence that his true motive of coming is the diamonds on their land. He has given the king a false impression he is in the land to cultivate a tobacco farm,
build a school and help the village from the proceeds of the tobacco farm. Indeed his actual purpose is to have the farmers unsuspectingly harvest the diamonds for him.
SUMMARY OF THE BLOOD OF A STRAGER BY DELE CHARLEY
Maligu receives a letter from an European called Whitehead, that he is coming to Mando.for tobacco farming and it is against the tradition of the Mando people to receive strangers since their last war out break. The belief of the people is that,strangers in their midst bring sickness, war and problems. Maligu then approaches Solo,the corrupt priest, confide in him and tells him to prophesy to the king (Santigi) and the people about the visitor.He does this so that the people would be convinced as the people believe in any prophecy from the priest. Kindo, the chief warrior and the king’s son, do
not believe the claims of Solo because, the duo of Maligu and Soko are corrupt.
Whitehead arrives, and later reveals his true mission to Maligu that he is in Mando to harvest their diamond and he makes the people believe that diamond is a devil stone. He tells the king that he is in Mando to help the village. He then distributes gifts to the king and
the people. He gives them tobacco, hard drug and gin that intoxicate them and make them misbehave.
Whitehead connives with Parker and Soko, to rape Sara, Kindo’s woman but fails. Eventually, Parker kills Soko as a result of the unsuccessful rape of Wara. Kindo also kills Parker and reveals their evil plans. Kindo is banished by king Santigi for the killing of Parker in time of peace. In annoyance, Kindo kills Whitehead and leaves Maligu to confess his bad deeds. He then prophesies that Maligu would be enthroned after the death of his father, but his period would know no peace and that he would come back as a Prince to claim the kingdom, but if he doesn’t, the story should be told to the generations yet unborn.
Themes of The Blood Of a Stranger
1] The theme of Colonialist Arrogance and expectation –
Whitehead comes to Mandoland with a blatant air of superiority with is why after two days of arrival inn the land he refuse to pay homage to king sangi until kindo forces him. This is reflective of colonial arrogance inn history. Even though the real colonial colonial mission is to exploit, They still engage the owner of the land in service labour to advance that interest and also expect to accord him honour and for him for pittance. It is also a show of colonial arrogance that makes whitehead introduce gin spirit drink in place of the peoples local drink mamapama which is congenial with their system, whereas whitehead’s drink intoxicates
and makes the animal of the people.
2] The theme of Patriotism and Resistance to Oppression –
The patriootic zeal of kindo saves Mando Kingdom from the hands of whitehead. when whitehead refuses to accord kig santigi his deserved respect, it is kindo who restore it by putting him where he truly belongs – beneath the king’s feet. Kindo constantly monitors maligu and soko when he suspects they are in league with whitehead. He also interrogates whitehead on why he chose Mandoland and not another place. when whitehead get the people drunk and the woman become sexually provocative, It is kindo that also calls whitehead and maligu to order. kindo it is that also unveils the grand design to steal mando’s diamond wealth. in the end kindo does not only resist oppression, he stamps it out by killing whitehead.
3] The theme of Irony of Culture –
Its is a cultural irony that the culture whitehead disregards by introducing the people to alcohol, tobacco, and hard core hallucination drugs, he also finds in it a substance to manipulate the culture by relying on key traditional beliefs that favour his ominous ploy. For example, he seizes on the decree of the death for anyone who kills in peacetime, so as to trap kindo. He also describes diamond as evil stones that should be handed over to him in a land purification ritual he trumps up.
4] The theme of Moral decadence and corruption –
Some characters in the play fail moral test. Whitehead for instance attempts to rape a county virgin, Kindo’s woman, Wara. The attempted rape of this country virgin in this play symbolizes the rape of the country’ natural resources that the colonial government is essentially after. it should be emphasized too that whitehead’s deft manipulation of mondo society is aided and abetted by the corrupt priest of the shrine, Soko and the chief assistant to the king, Maligu who are hoping to gain personal wealth by assisting whitehead. Their ignorance of whitehead’s true motive – he wants diamonds, whereas they think he is there to grow tobacco – is reminiscence of the general exploitative track of colonial history in Africa. While beads, tobacco and cloths were among the initial innocent exchange in a barter of goods for palm oil and other product between Europeans and Africans, It did not take long before Africans themselves became the battered goods of choice by European (the slave trade), who used corrupt local leaders to accomplish their scheme.
5] The theme of Political social and spiritual decadence
The Corrupt leaders of the priest of the scared shrine and the chief adviser to the king, Maligu parodies the colonial legacy of political, social and spiritual decadence in sierra lone, the country. Over all, as tragic as the play (seemingly tragic for kindo) there is moral retribution in the end when whitehead is given a taste of his own recommendation – he is sacrificed rather than Wara. Thus the evil plotter becomes the sacrificial lamb of atonement and give hope for our flawed humanity
6]The Theme of The evils of African colonial encounter with the west –
The play successfully demonstrates the evils of the african colonial encounter with the west, without presenting the colonized as mere victims. kindo represent a major obstacle to whitehead’s plan matching him wit for wit and always a step ahead of him he disciplines whitehead for not according deserved respect to king santigi and eventually kills him for his evil role in their land
7] The theme of Cultural Clash and erosion of customs
Western values and African values come headed for collision in this play. When Whitehead refuses to pay respect to King Santigi, Kindo teaches him how to do it and why it is done. It is not Whitehead’s culture to bow before a King but he is made to kiss the ground before King Santigi. Smoking of pipe,hard drug intake and drinking of hard spirits are not African ways of life but Whitehead introduces them and Kindo condemns them; he upholds mampama their local drink. Soko also erodes custom by not sleeping in his cave as required by his spiritual office as the chief priest of the land. Santigi and Whitehead also contest animal sacrifice in place of human sacrifice. The king extols the rationale behind human sacrifice to secure peace. Whitehead suggests a goat instead but is cautioned not to meddle into what he does not understand.
8] The theme of Justice always wins out against oppression
The white man symbolize Britain’s rape of Sierra Leonean natural resources. In
Sierra Leonean people are presented not only as victimized, but also as complicit in the exploitation of their own people. Through the gifts of “strange tobacco” alcohol, advantage of the drugged and exploits resources. With the help of Maligu and Soko, Whitehead also tries to
rape Kindo’s woman, Wara, but in the end his elaborate plans fail. Dele-Charley clearly makes the point that justice would always find its course irrespective of the oppressive grand design to scuttle justice.
9] The theme of greed and ambition
The theme of greed and ambition runs through there play the characters involve in this. are whitehead , maligu and soko. The thr ee’s sole ambition is to get rich. whitehead come to mandoland with dubious intent to cart the people’s diamond wealth away and become extremely rich. The other two connnive with him to carry out his intention and also get rich in the process. Greed sets in when they begin to distrust one another and hatching plans to eliminate each other for greater advantage on the diamond wealth
Uncritical adherence to culture (as if cultures are static)
The king’s rigid adherence to tradition in the face of irrevocable change is a major theme in this play. It may seem a little odd, even disappointing, that the king will hastily banish his own son without regard for the motive behind Kindo’s behaviour, especially since Kindo remains morally impeccable throughout the play. Perhaps, one could relate the king’s cultural rigidity at this juncture in the play to the fact that Whitehead has introduced him to hallucinatory drugs, although the link between the two events is not convincingly made in the play. A more convincing explanation may lie in the playwright’s consistent critique of the uncritical adherence to culture, as if cultures are static, not dynamic. That is to say, that while the play seems to esteem tradition, it also challenges the audience to examine the values behind traditional beliefs, especially where common sense changes are needed with the changing times. For instance, Kindo, like Maligu, knows that the priest does not honour the traditions of the land, even though he is supposed to be the protector of it. Soko has built a hut in the forest where he enjoys a comfortable bed instead of sleeping in the rustic shrine at night. Ignorant of this fact, the people of Mandoland, including the king, hold the shrine in veneration. Maligu would of course use the knowledge of Soko’s deception to blackmail him into “divining” the entrance of a white stranger into the land, thus further contravening the law of the land.
In short The Blood of A Stranger is a story of greed, selfish ambition, human deceit, corruption, and exploitation.
Role and List of Characters in The Blood of a Stranger
Characters in The Blood of a Stranger
CHARACTERS in the play.
SANTIGI MANDO V
1.ROLE and Character analysis OF MALIGU in The Blood of a Stranger;
Maligu is the king advisor, he is refer to as the wise one because he is educated, he has lust for riches, maligu is one who say everything he sees, an attitude kindo doesn’t like because it amounts to not having “backbone”, Maligu is greedy and has an overambitious personality
Maligu uses his position as the king’s advisor to corruptly plan the false story of prophecy from the gods. Blinded by his dubious desire to get rich quick, he undermines his culture and pride, and exposes his village to ridicule Instead of using his wisdom positively for the advancement of his people, he unfortunately betrays the kingdom’s trust in his wisdom.
Maligu and kindo are both at each other’s throat “growling and tearing at each other the king even notices this. His greed and overambition almost get him destroyed, even though he is fully aware that making money fraudulently is dangerous. This is why Parker’s opinion that Maligu “would do anything for money” some merit.
2. ROLE and character OF SOKO in The Blood of a Stranger;
Soko is the village shrine priest league with Maligu to deceive the king and community with false prohecy in respect of the coming of a white man to Mandoland, soko is false, full of deceit and treachery, he is a “sincere liar” and very greedy, Whitehead calls him funny witch doctor because of his queer disposition. He is a coward; despite his tough proposition on how to acheive their goals, he frets when it matters most: “i am not interested in getting money if there are too many dangers.” Kindo being their biggest headache, he suggests Maligu make “bigger trouble” for him; be even jests that Maligu should be the hunter to catch the wily monkey Kindo. To prevent him from backing out, Maligu blackmails him for telling lies to the community on the arrival of a white stranger.
Soko’s voice is like the voice of the god as he mediates between the spirits and the people. His pronouncements are believed and that is why he is enlisted into Maligu and Whitehead’s dubious
scheme. His falsehood manifests in some ways, he for instance sleeps the cave where he is supposed to be as the chief priest of the village but makes the people believe that he does Even though he is co-opted by Maligu into the diamond scam, he now freely spins ideas on how their deceptive project would succeed. He suggests the virgin sacrifice to “make it sweet” tricks Wara out of town, sets fierce rivalry between Maligu and Kindo, etc. It is significant that Maligu and Kindo are the only two men standing at the end of the play, even though is banished, they are equally matched. Perhaps, Soko continues to fuel their rivalry hoping they would neutralize one another to give him better advantage in their diamond scam.
As the whole scheme gets more complicated, his inner strength fails him. He has probably died many times before Parker kills him.
3. Role and character analysis of WARA in The Blood of a Stranger
wara is a stranger in mandoland too but has lived there long enough to detest being called stranger, and She is also in love with Kindo, She not born in Mandoland, her mother was taken prisoner by one of mando’s warriors during the war; her mother ran away after giving birth to her.
Wara cautions kindo form doing anything which will anger the spirit, Wara is the only Kindo’s woman that will be sexually assaulted by Whitehead. Maligu and soko lot abduction into a sack and then take to whitehead’s compound. she fortunately escapes. For her love for Kindo, she is ready to risk anything to be with him, likes to follow him everywhere and Kindo is not comfortable with that as a warrior. Her love for Kindo is so intense that she refuses to leave with her grandfather to their homeland but remains in Mandoland in order to be with Kindo. In a way, her mother is seen as a slave ofthe Mando people. This reality poses a great threat to her relationship with Kindo. This is why Kindo cannot take her to the palace.
Even though she has absolute faith in Kindo, she is still very mindful of her integrity as a woman and also respects the customary norms of her society. This is one of the reasons she resists Kindo having her just anywhere and pushes to be taken to the palace. Wara’s steadfastness in preventing Whitehead from raping her is indicative of the resilience of the bloggingAfrican space to Western plundering schemes.
4. ROLES and Character analysis OF KINDO in The Blood of a Stranger
kindo is the son of the king and head of worriors of mondoland; a hunter and heir-apparent to the throne of Mando, Kindo is an upright defender of Mandoland; he is willing to defend his culture and his people even his own hurt. He is very young and only a boy when he fought in his first war.
Kindo is very sensitive instincts; feels evil in the air easily – very sensitive to a crooked situation, He is an ambitious character he is sturbborn and also impatient; Loves and protects the custom of his people, Kindo is boastful and keeps a dossier on people, He can speak reasonably like a wise elder. He is regid and unnfeeling; More concerned for the safety of his people. He kills Parker, the white man’s assistant and is consequently banished from the village. Kindo not moved because a courageous character who has vowed to die a “warrior-king” and
“always he is fight for the truth.”
The fraudulent activities of the British colonizers represented white stranger symbolically by a called Whitehead, is
exposed in the play through the king’s son, Kindo. Whitehead also dies
in the hands of Kindo (pp. 18, 31, 33).
Kindo’s role as head of warriors of Mandoland places a lot of responsibilities on him to defend the
land both militarily and morally. Also as heir-apparent, he does all in his power to learn the ropes of leadership. smart enough to see through Maligu and Soko’s dubious plan to defraud the land and the people. His ambition and stubbornness are all character traits of a leader with a mission. He defends his vision for Mandoland stubbornly. His boastful and wily natures are defence devices to keep the opposition in effective check
When it matters, he will also handle situations with the wisdom of an elder, a point his father, the king realizes with satisfaction. He also keeps the fact that he can read and write secret as a strategy to monitor Maligu a sincerity in Mando political and socio-economic affairs.
His killing of Parker and Whitehead suggests the death of Western exploitation ofAfrican wealth and heritage
5. Roles and Character analysis of SANTIGI MANDO V in The Blood of a Stranger
santigi mando v is the king of mondoland, father of kindo, He is an upright and a observer of traditional law and cultural norms. Santigi Mand V is manipulated into admitting a stranger into his domain, His rigid sense of justice propels him to banish his son, kindo from his land for killing parker. As the paramount ruler of Mando kingdom he stands firm on the side of justice and cultural values
of his people.
His manipulation to admit Whitehead into his kingdom portrays the shortfall of effective when the lieutenants are insincere. All the decisions Santigi takes are based on the assurances of Maligu and Soko. Not listening.to Kindo most times is probably to prevent been accused of undermining his lieutenants for his son. He probably should have listened to Kindo too and make objective deductions Santigi’s rigid position most times is meant to signify how resolute a leader should be and defend the core values of his society no matter whose ox is gored. Every leader has his/her weaknesses. Santigi’s main weakness is gullibility.
6. Roles and Character analysis of PARKER in The Blood of a Stranger
Parker; Parker is an african who is the secretary, assistance, interpreter, adviser and the right hand man of whitehead, Parker often serves as whitehead’s voice and solicitor advocate, he hates Maligu and does not trust him He gets into trouble with Kindo for encouraging the white man to undermine African traditional values and cultural practic
Kindo flogs him thoroughly Whitehead schemes him into his plan to kill Soko, the chief priest: a sacrilegious act that earns him death too in the hands of Kindo.
Parker typifies the African who concedes superiority to the whiteman on account of his skin colour. He also derives his importance from been associated with the white man, He insists to be addressed as Mr Parker as status symbol. It elevates him above his other local folks. He defends Whitehead often to curry his favour and to remain relevant in his scam project. He knows Maligu is very smart and has the attention of Whitehead most times as a result his relevance is being undermined. That is why he hates Maligu
s guts He is taught a lesson by Kindo for undermining African norms to assert the dignity of African traditional values. It is also a clear message to foreigners that those who aid and abet with them would not go unpunished.
His death is the ultimate price he pays for his stupidity.
Role and character analysis of WHITEHEAD in The Blood of a Stranger
Whitehead; This is the arrow head of the crisis in the play; every evil and a schemer. Whitehead is a crass, greedy, dictator who arrogantly believes he can deceive the entire land into granting him access to its diamond. whitehead lies to the king and is people that he is in mandoland to cultivate tobacco.
He uses petty gifts and hard drugs, tobacco and gin spirit drink; and not in good terms with Kindo because he opposes him. He achieves his plan by plotting Soko’s death using Parker, and Kindo reacts by killing Parker which attracts his banishment from Mandoland. He dies in the hand of kindo, Whitehead typifies the plundering of African riches and heritage. He comes to Mandoland with deceit and this is the character trait of all known colonial stories. He pretends to cultivate a tobacco farm, a very lucrative crop, whereas his real intention is to unsuspectingly steal the people’s diamonds cashing in on their ignorance.
The gifts and drinks he offers are meant to subdue the people’s consciousness and secure their cooperation He detests the guts of Kindo because he sees through Whitehead’s plan and therefore hatch a plan to murder Kindo by exploiting the traditional legal injunction of the land that no one must kill during peacetime. His death in the hands of Kindo marks the triumph of African values and resilience over Westem exploitation.
Minor Characters in Blood of a Stranger
Role and character analysis of Boko in The Blood of a Stranger
Sima lead the arrest of Whitehead and
A Mando warrior who is very loyal to Kindo. Himself and
him before Kindo.
Role and character analysis of SIMA in The Blood of a Stranger
Sima; Another warrior of Mandoland
Role and character analysis of 1st Man in The Blood of a Stranger
praises the white man when his people are under the influence of head drug and gin spirit drink
Setting of The Blood Of A Stranger by DELE CHARLEY
The Blood of a Stranger is set in a fictional village (Mando) in Sierra Leone in the early days of the colony and centres on the unavoidable conflict between traditional preservation and the modernizing presence of British colonizers
Language and Style in The Blood of a stranger
The use of Language in The Blood of a stranger
Language use in The Blood of a stranger is simple but compact and profound. To large extent, language is used to also reflect characterization. For instance, King Santigi’s language is elevated and
laced with wisdom and sometimes proverbs. Let us look at this dialogue between him and Kindo his son:
KINDO: I do not like men who see everything and say everything they see. I do not like men who have no backbone.
SANTIGI: One day, you too will become an old man and you will have no backbone, like Maligu
KINDO: I shall die a warrior-king, father, I shall always have my backbone. I shall always fight for truth father truth, father.
SANTIGl: There are times when a warrior has to fight with his head and times when he has to fight with his mouth, Kindo. Only when you can do that would you be able to rule well. You are too impatient (55-56).
What the king has simply told his son-warrior in simple but profound language is that human beings have phases of development, we cannot be strong all the time. Even then, the strength of a warrior is all about physicality but intelligence and wit. When Maligu pleads with the king to stop from dealing with whitehead for his insolence, he replies:
SANTIGI: I speak only because I am not yet dead, Maligu. I sit on the throne for that same reason and because custom demands that. Kindo is almost your king. I am tired (64)
Apart from the heightened impact of this statement, there is grace and elegance in it. He simply tells him that Kindo is more or less the acting king waiting for him to die to be formally crowned. It is also a polite way of telling Maligu to respect Kindo’s views and also take instructions from him as the king to be. “Kindo is in charge” (64).
Kindo too as the heir-apparent, apart from his occasional rashness also speaks with wisdom and deep rooted imagery. After addressing Maligu amongst other things that “we must learm to know peace among ourselves before we live at peace with strangers”, his father King Santigi acknowledges that those are not the words of a warrior, Kindo. Those are the words of a wise elder” (59). Kindo’s exchange with Wara at the foot of the cave is full of imagery. Hear him for instance,
KINDO: I feel something strange in the air, Wara. The hunter sees with his eyes and ears and nose He sees with his whole body, I smell trouble, Wara. It makes me restless. It makes me distrust everybody (30)
Maligu as the king’s chief advisor and a wise man also speaks with dignity. His exchanges with Sokoare often imbued with poetic images and wise sayings. Soko especially speaks the language of the spirits’ with proverbs and thought-provoking idioms. Hear Soko: “The monkey is wise. The leopard is strong. Their blood for Kings and great warriors” (36); “the dog dies with its dream in its belly. I will die with my (37): “We gave our blood for peace. We gave our lives for our children. But peace is like the moon. It stays not forever. The sun drives it away. Astranger comes to the land. want peace, treat him well. If you want peace throw more The blood of in another place” (38). these few examples with his chants and incantations position him well as a pries that is well connected to the spirits he serves. Clearly, Soko’s language also has ritual import when the occasion requires it as already demonstrated.
We also have the use of Creole language/pidgin reserved for the poverty stricken pool from which Whitehead draws his labourers. After getting them drunk, hear what one of them says:
TowNSMAN: enly) Leave my Kindo. Don’t come near me. Leave my botchul, Chell
him, Mista Waiched. He won choc hake my botchul. (He staggers to his feet and starts to dance.) Mista Waiched, dorobe, Mista Waiched, number one.
The use of Style in The Blood of a stranger
Style is distinctive form; a distinctive and identifiable form in an artistic medium such as literature. The Blood of a Stranger has linear plot structure and is very straightforward without any obvious complications. It is simple and easy to follow and understand. Locales are differently situated in front of the priest’s cave, the sacrifice stone arena in the shrine, the king’s palace, Whitehead’s house which we never see, a clearing somewhere for drinking and dancing. These many locales for a linear plot may affect dramatic effectiveness as a theatre piece genre of the play is tragedy. The tragic tone of the play is not roundly portrayed by the common features of tragedy of having a tragic hero that is superhuman who falls from grace to grass as a result of his tragic flaws. The tragic attributes of this emphasized by the coming of the white stranger that brought trouble to Mandoland, the priest betraying his calling to the detriment o
his people, incurring the anger of the spirits against land, the contrived ritual sacrifice of Whitehead as a retributive the justice for his acts against Mando nation. Besides, blood is a common word used in play with symbolic and real imports. Perhaps the real figure in The is
Kindo who stands firmly to defend his land from social and moral desecration and plundering of their natural resources but gets banished from the very land he passionately defends. He kills Whitehead
because he does not want him “to plant more evil among the people At the point when impediments, safe for Maligu who Kindo could also have taken care of anyway, that stand in the way Of progress for Mandoland are cleared, Kindo that makes this possible is banished from the
land. Kindo himself observes this travesty: “It is not strange who the greatest protector of the custom should now be punished by the custom?” This futility of efforts is what makes The Blood of a Stranger an uncommon kind of tragedy. Another unique slant to the tragic hues is that Kindo goes into exile with full military compliments as all his warriors go with him as Mando custom stipulates. He goes also as a satisfied warrior that quelled a major opposition in Whitehead. As such, Kindo’s fall is not essentially from grace to grass, but from grace to graze land. It is also worth noting that even though the tragic nature of the play is not in doubt, it also wears the garb of satire in its underlying rendering. The play essentially parodies colonialism in Africa and how fought back with dignity, using the Sierra Leonean experience, There are however some dramatic devices the playwright uses to tell his story for general dramatic cohesion and relevance
Dramatic or literary Devices in school The Blood of a Stranger
The use of Irony in The Blood of a Stranger
Dele Charley uses irony richly in the play for dramatic effectiveness. Maligu the most educated in the community and a wise one complains that Soko puts “too many obstacles on the way” and Soko replies that “the obstacles have been in the way all the time. I only warn you do not fall over them in your blindness” (24-25). It is ironical the wise one is perceived as blind. Indeed, Maligu is blind to the mischievous intentions of Whitehead until very much later in the play. Another incidence of irony
is when soko chooses wara, Kindo’s woman, for virgin sacrifice, him fire and will you ifyou touch Wara” (45). t is ironical that in the end Soko is consumed by his own sacrificial fire. King Santigi and Whitehead argue over the relevance of virgin sacrifice which he is not used to in his homeland. The king him that to “shed the blood of a stranger just one life, not the blood educates Whitehead of a goat (87) as instructed by the spirits to secure peace for multitudes is not out of place. then asks, “My man and I are strangers. Why did you not choose one of us?” (87). Here, Whitehead foretold the future without knowing it, for he becomes the stranger whose blood is shed on the sacrifice stone, which is the highpoint of an ill-meditated ritual orgy. This is a very poignant irony in the play and this is probably what informs the title of the play too. man who uses all his energy
Kindo’s banishment for killing Parker is another irony. This is a only comelude
wit to defend Mando customs but ends up a victim of that which he protects. Kindo can that “Mando land is danger” (99).
The use of symbolism and iconography in The Blood of a Stranger
symbolism and iconography
symbolism is the use of something abstract to represent something concrete, lt is the artistic method of revealing ideas or truths through the use of symbols; it seeks to evoke, rather than describe, ideas or feelings through the use of symbolic images. The most prominent and engaging symbol in the play is blood. Blood is projected as a symbol of wisdom and strength, life giver and sustenance, and peace. Blood is a symbol of wisdom and stiength, for at the communal gathering at the shrine, Soko says “The monkey is wise. The leopard is strong. Their blood for kings and great warriors” (36). The king and Maligu drink the blood as a symbolic emphasis of their great wisdom and strength. The king captures blood as life giver and sustenance, and symbol of peace this way:
SANTIGI: Spirits of kings! Spirits of warriors! Spirits on the mountain! Your blood flows to give us life. Your blood flows through our bodies. Your blood flowed to give us peace, We give you blood so that you can give us more peace. (37)
Soko adds that “We gave our blood for peace. We gave our lives for our children if peace throw more blood. The blood of a virgin, born in another place” (38). Blood as used in these contexts becomes a mediating channel between man and the spirits, and therefore a strong image of our existence as human beings. Of a truth, we all survive on blood, there is no life without blood. To secure peace, blood is often shed and this is the language the spirits of Mandoland seem to understand. Kindo wants peace for his land too and since he has no means of verifying he believes Soko that spirits ask for the blood of a virgin. The intended stranger virgin for the sacrifice, Wara, leaves the community and no other stranger in their midst but Whitehead. Kindo capitalizes on that te ask bis men to take Whitebead
to the sacrifice stone and calls on the spirits to accept him as a credible alternative
KINDO. Spirits of our forefathers! Spirits on the mountain look down from your home up there and receive the blood, which you asked for through the mouth of your priest. There is no virgin in the land who is a stranger so receive the blood of a stranger who brought evil to the land.(102)
In all of these, horn and sword become ritual tools and the icons of the quest for peace; sword for cutting sacrificial animals for blood and hom for drinking the blood (36 and 37), while drumming is used as a symbol of communal cohesion (26, 33, 36, 37, 55, 94, 97). We also have the symbolic use of dances to suggest the occupational sources of the presents the people bring to honour King Santigi, especially hunting, farming and fishing occupations (55)
The use of Incantations, music and dance in The Blood of a Stranger
Incantations, music and dance
The ritual colouration of this drama necessitates rich use of incantations and dance most especially, Even though we are not given the contents of the incantations, they are expected to be drawn from the cultural milieu of Sierra Leone and also have direct relevance to the dramatic context of utility. In the play, there is integrated use of these three artistic elements; incantations, drumming and dance occur concurrently most times. For instance, we are told that at the communal gathering at the shrine after some ritual observances, “drumming starts again and Soko starts an incantation. He starts to dance and the attendants join him. At the end, he assumes trance-like pose” (37-38). By this, we can infer the functionality of these three elements of incantation, drumming and dance, which is to facilitate the transportation of the priest to a higher plane to commune with the spirits on behalf of the people Besides these, we also have a group of men singing, dancing and drinking which expresses the social use of music and dance in Mandoland (71)
About the Playwright Caleb Ayodele “Dele” Charley
Caleb Ayodele “Dele” Charley (27 March 1948, Freetown 8 May 1993, Freetown) was Sierra Leonean writer and playwright in English and Krio language. He studied in Freetown and London and worked for the Ministry of Education. His play, The Blood of a stranger, was Sierra Leone’s entry to the African Festival of Arts (FESTAC) held in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977. The Blood of a Stranger is the late dramatist’s best play and is perhaps the most dramatized play in the last half century in Freetown. Dele Charley who also wrote several plays in Krio and Krio adaptations of some of the of Shakespeare, remains the most celebrated artist in Sierra Leone and is seen as the father of modern theatre in that country, because his theatre group, the popular Tabule Theatre, birthed many of the artists who later founded notable groups, such as Shegureh Players, Kailondo Tiata, Ronko Theatre, Kakua Players, Freetown Players, and Spence Productions. Many restless youths hung out at Dele Charley’s house and he helped them realize their dreams to start a social club a competition organized by the Ministry of Tourism in 1975 in Sierra Leone, Dele Charley won the award for Best Play with The Blood of a Stranger Storytelling was arobust tradition in Sierra Leone and had a telling significance in that society because of their pedagogical contents. In Central Freetown, Dele Charley through his Tabule Experimen Theatre presented improvisational performances regularly at the Victoria Park, accompanied
with deep ingredients of music and dance. These were based on ordinary tales transformed into improvised acts not only to entertain but to teach. The Freetown Players with Charley Haffner, Yulisa Amadu Maddy’s Gbakanda Tiata, John Kolosa Kargbo, and Raymond De Souza-George were also part of the tradition of transforming stories into actual performances on stage or in street corners. It is however widely acclaimed that theatre as a positive developmental force began in the 1970s in Sierra Leone with Raymond Dele Charley. His political theatre under censorship was not by bluntly attacking the government but by animating the community to dance and share their joy, grief, hopes and frustrations giving them a sense of pride and self-esteem.