Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 924
Ibobo is one of the lumbermen on the raft He has some useful knowledge about the water and the situation they are in; for example, he figures out that sea cows must have chewed through the moorings and set the raft adrift. Ibobo has a rather terse relationship with his raft mates. He is critical of Kengide and Olotu's bickering and of Ogro's singing, especially the negative themes of his songs. Ibobo also believes it is a fantasy that Ogro will marry the old chiefs finest daughter, if any daughter at all Yet when Olotu drifts away on a separated part of the raft at the end of scene 2, Ibobo tries to help by yelling advice to him.
After Olotu and Ogro are gone, Ibobo becomes Kengide's primary sparring partner. Ibobo is angry with him for letting Olotu go, and he misses Ogro's river sensibilities. Despite their adversarial relationship, there are moments of closeness between Kengide and Ibobo. Though, at the end of the play, Kengide asks Ibobo if he wants to pull up on the shore for the night; Ibobo says no. His only desire is to sleep in a warm bed, perhaps with a woman, something Kengide can understand When the fog envelops them, Kengide prevents Ibobo from jumping off on his own to try to swim to Burutu in order to save himself Instead, they die together.
Kengide is the leader of the men on the raft. Kengide is from river people and is very familiar with tides and currents. He formulates the plans to get them out of the situation, and the other three are forced to trust him, though sometimes they do so reluctantly. He does not get along with the other men. His first primary sparring partner is Olotu Ibobo replaces Olotu after his disappearance. Kengide does not hesitate to express his opinions on everything, buthe is intolerant of the others' beliefs. Still, when the raft first starts to drift, Kengide is the man they turn to for guidance on how to get out of their situation. The other three lumbermen generally follow his lead in the crises, but when they do not and something bad happens (as in when both Ogro and Olotu are separated from the others), Kengide voices his negative opinion of them. He also will not allow the others to save the man in jeopardy. Despite his vast knowledge (or perhaps because of it), Kengide is very negative about the situation they are in. As the unexpected fog comes in and they face death, Kengide will not allow Ibobo to jump off near the port and save himself. Kengide is afraid to be alone, and the men die together.
Ogro is one of the Okrika people. He comes from a hometown that is located on the water. Kengide is often critical of Ogro In turn, Ogro tries to intercede between Olotu and Kengide on occasion. The others on the raft see Ogro as rather negative, yet he has some knowledge of the water and related crafts. Ogro worries about the situations the lumbermen are in and tries to come up with solutions. It is Ogro who is the first to realize that they are adrift and helps to figure out why they went adrift in the first place. At the end of scene 2, it is he who comes up with the idea of stringing the mats together to make a sail and get them out of the storm When Olotu becomes separated from them, Ogro wants to swim out to save him, but Kengide will not let him. Ogro believes that after the delivery of the lumber is made, he will marry because the old chief has promised him his fairest daughter. Others believe that this will not happen, and they are proven correct. At the end of scene 3, Ogro becomes the second to leave the raft. After a ship passes them by, he decides to swim to it to be saved. A strong swimmer, he reaches the ship, but the people aboard throw coal and iron at him stunning him. Ogro dies when he gets caught in the ship's propellers.
Olotu is one of the more optimistic characters. He is a townsman (that is, from a township) and has traveled. While Olotu tries to be the voice of reason, he also constantly bickers with the others, especially Kengide. Kengide does not trust Olotu's judgment because of his background. For his part, Olotu is most critical of Ogro. In scene 1, Olotu becomes frustrated by the others' lack of focus on the raft and what is happening to them He wants things explained to him. Yet, even when they initially get caught in whirlpool at the end of scene 1, he believes they will be free. Olotu tries to get the others to row out at the end of scene 1 (though no one will) and helps Ogro build a sail and mast in the storm at the end of scene 2. Despite these actions, Olotu is the first to exit the play. He faces an uncertain fate after the part of the raft he is on breaks off and floats away. Though Olotu wants to be with the other men and the lumber that will pay him money, he cannot swim, and Kengide will not allow Ogro to swim to him to tie a towline to the loose portion of the raft. After he floats away, the other characters speculate on what happened to him, but no one knows for sure.