Remi (RAY-mee), a youth of the Maura tribe who is sent to the city to attend the university and return to his village as a political and social leader for his people in the government of a newly independent country. As a student activist, he has convinced his small tribe to support the Africanist Party, which now governs. He has stayed on in the city as a clerk in an oil company rather than returning to his village, as was expected. Before his departure from home, his father and the elders of the village prevailed upon him to marry the widow of his brother, recently killed in an accident. Because he has secretly loved her and believes that she could not have loved him and married his brother, he goes through with the ceremony but flees the reality of the marriage by staying on in the city and becoming the lover of Jane, a white South African student. When he returns home with a friend from another tribe, he decries racism and tribalism, and he spurns his wife.
Nyobi (NYOH-bee), a devout Christian convert, the mother of Remi and confidante and supporter of his wife, Thoni. Her concern for Thoni and longing to see Remi prompt her to bless the mission of the elders, undertaken in the name of the old religion. Repenting, she adjures the pastor of the Christian church to go on the same mission.
Thoni (DHOH-nee), the legal wife of...
(The entire section is 618 words.)