In The River Between, how does Waiyaki feel about, and react to, the coming of the white man and the white man’s religion, Christianity? 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Let us remember that Waiyaki is the son of Chege, and the last in a long line of Africans that stems back to a famous seer who declared that one of his descendants would become a saviour for Gikuyu people and warned against the coming of the white man. Chege has taken this prophecy very much to heart and believes that his son, Waiyaki, is the coming Messiah who will save his people. However, so that his son is equipped and ready to fulfill his role, Chege has sent his son to Siriana to learn the ways of the white man:

The boy was doing well at Siriana. He had early gone through the second birth. And this season he would be initiated into manhood. This would help him to absorb the white man's wisdom more quickly and help the tribe.

Waiyaki therefore sees the wisdom that can be gained from the white men and is eager to learn it. He sees the many benefits that education can bestow, however at the same time he is also a strong believer in traditional Gikuyu culture and society, as his circumcision shows.


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