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THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND ~ PLAY

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TITLE:                  THREE SUITORS ONE HUSBAND

PLAYWRIGHT:      GUILLAUME OYONO -MBIA

SETTING:             (MVOUTESI) CAMEROON (1960)

INTRODUCTION

Three suitors one husband appears to be a comedy play because it is witty or humorous. I.e. it may make you laugh.

The Title “Three suitors one husband” is nothing but three men who want to marry a girl called Juliette, whereby two of them have already paid the bride price to marry her (Julliete), and one of them is unknown to Julliette’s family. It is only Julliette who knows him, for they are both at school. He is called Oko. He is the only man whom Julliette wants to be her husband. Both three men (suitors) are competing to marry Julliete but they differ in terms of economic status.

For instance Mbia, who is senior Civil Servant, is wealthier than others. Ndi (a peasant) is at least richer than Oko (Julliette’s choice). Mbia pays 200,000 Francs as the bride price for marrying Julliette; Ndi pays 100,000 Francs which is smaller than that of Mbia. Julliette’s family wants Mbia to marry her (Julliette) for he is wealthier than others and he paid 200,000/= Francs which is greater than the money paid by Ndi. Oko pays nothing; he is very poor he is just a student like Juliette.

All these issues of paying the bride price take place while Juliette is not at home; therefore she is not informed that she is going to marry. This is because according to their traditions, it is parents who decide whether their daughter is to be married or not.

When Julliette comes back from school she is wondering to hear from her parents that they want her to marry and the money for bride price has already been paid. And two suitors are waiting for her.

Julliette protests because she is in need of continuing with further studies before marrying. Apart from that she is in love with her fellow student called Oko. She loves him very much.

Having discovered that it is difficult to convince her parents not to marry either Mbia or Ndi, she decides to steal the money (300,000 Francs) paid by Mbia and Ndi and gives all of it to her choice (Oko). Oko is afraid but Julliette convinces him to take them and then he will have to pay them to her parents as the bride price so that he will be considered to have paid the greater amount than all the suitors.

Before payment Juliette announces that she is ready to be married but she will only be married by someone who will pay 300,000/= Francs, knowing that Oko has such amount. Her parents try to find the men who will pay such amount but they fail. As the result Oko arrives and pays such amount. Therefore marriage between Juliette and Oko takes place. Juliette appears to be the winner, for she succeeds to marry the man of her choice (Oko)

ABOUT THE BOOK

The play is set in Mvoutessi village in the southern part of Eastern Cameroon, a typical Bulu village, built along the road. The book is all about cultural conflict existing between traditional culture represented by the villagers against the western culture represented by young people like Juliette, Oko, and kouma. The play begins by showing Juliette, a daughter of the village, is about to return home from her secondary school with Oko, her father, Atangana and all the relatives expect Juliette to comply with these. The resulting clash symbolizes the meeting of two conflicting cultures. The play is divided into acts as summarized here below

ACT ONE

RELATIVES AWAIT JULIETTE EAGERLY IN THE VILLAGE

It is quite afternoon in Mvoutessi Village. The relatives are seen gathering at Atangaa’s house expecting Juliette to arrive at any time from her boarding school at Libamba. Atangana is seen making a basket and Abessolo is busy sculpting an ebony figurine while Oyono and Ondua are playing a game of “Songho”. All these men are seen drinking palm wine. The women such as Matalina and Bella do not drink; instead they are busy cracking peanuts for the meal. Later, Atangana is shown complaining about his wife’s behavior of coming late back to the village from the bush as he says to Ondua, his young brother: “You see; Ondua? The clock itself says we’re half-way through the afternoon already! And that wife of mine’s still working in the bush! Will that woman ever understood that she must always come back to the village before midday?”

THE COMING OF JULIETTE

Juliette is warmly welcome back to the village by the relatives. She embraces the members in a Bulu way as the tradition demands (Consider African tradition).

A little while later, Juliette is shocked when she is told about marriage arrangements done by her family in her favor. She is told that, Ndi, a young farmer came to see them, five weeks ago and said that he wanted to marry her and on top of that, he has already paid them, one hundred thousand francs as dowry.

Juliette is more shocked when her father informs her that they were also expecting another suitor, a great civil servant ( Mbia) that very afternoon who also want to marry her and that, If Mbia pays a larger bride price than Ndi , he (Mbia) is going to marry Juliette. This question annoys more Juliette as she is seen shouting at her father: What? Am I for sale? Are you trying to give me to the highest bidder? Why can’t you ask my opinion about my own marriage?

This causes a serious family conflict between Juliette and her relatives, all the relatives know is that Juliette has now been corrupted by the secondary school education introduced by the French in Cameroon.

MAKRITA IS COMING BACK FROM THE BUSH

Makrita (Juliette’s mother) comes back from the bush with a basket containing food crops such as cassava, banana, and sugar cane. As soon as Juliette sees her mother, she goes to embrace her. Atangana blames his wife (Makrita) that she is the one who teaches Juliette such a disgraceful behavior of disobedience.

THE ARRIVAL OF MBIA

Oyono informs people about the coming of great man (Mbia). He wears a terylene suit, dark glasses and an impressive collection of medals on his chest that make him look a real civil servant. People are confused and excited. Atangana orders Oyono to go and beat the drum so as to tell everybody in the village to come to his house that very afternoon and among other things, he (Atananga) wants all the people to go to the roof to give Mbia a big welcome.

ACT TWO

MBIA INTRODUCED HIMSELF BEFORE THE VILLAGERS

Mbia is invited in the village; he comes with his driver called Engulu. After sitting in a big armchair, he is asked to introduce himself before the villagers and tell them what brought with him there. Mbia starts introducing himself as a very important civil servant from Sangmelima who works in a very large office.

He tells peoples that, because of his exceptional abilities, he has been awarded many medals. He then continues telling people the reason of his visit to the village that he seeks the honor to become a member of Atangana’s  great family through marriage, he asks them to give him Juliette, Among other things, Mbia orders his driver (Engulu) to offer a couple of drinks to the villagers who start drinking without bothering about glasses.

MBIA IS ASKED TO TELL PEOPLE HIS GENEALOGY

Abessolo tells Mbia that before answering his request to marry their daughter of the village (Juliette), he must tell the villagers his genealogy (the study of family history, including the study of which the ancestors of a particular person were). Mbia introduces himself that he belongs to the tribe Esse. On his mother’s side he is a descendant of the Mbidambanes.

His mother’s (Mbia grandmother) was a Yembong. There is a general wail (weep) of distress among the villagers when the tribe Yembong is mentioned. Mbia stop in surprise, and looks questioningly at Abessolo who is more upset than any of the others, the grandmother of Juliette’s grandfather (Abessolo’s grandmother) was also a Yembong.

Mbia: “Impossible marriage? And what about my beer?

Abessolo: “No marriage…. No marriage! Return him his beer! He is related to Juliette! No marriage!”

Mbia: “Engulu! Take back the beer! We are leaving!”

The villagers rush to the case,and helping themselves with more bottles while Engulu is unsuccessifully trying to take them away.

THE INFLUENCE OF THE VILLAGE HEADMAN

Mbaraga, the village headman convinces the villagers to accept Mbia to have their daughter Juliette. He claims that the great men should always deserve special treatment and since Mbia is the civil servant, he deserves better treatment to marry Juliette. In the book, Mbarga is show flattering Mbia.

Mbarga: “listen all of you! I’m the headman of this village! Mbia; our visitor has come all the way from Sangimilima because he wants to marry our daughter Juliette. Well…. I know that some people here think he related to Juliette, so there should be no marriage…..but what? Should we be foolish enough to turn down a civil servant like Mbia for such reasons? Don’t great men always deserve special treatment?

Villagers: “They do!”

Now all the people including Abessolo are convinced and support Mbarga that Mbia should marry Juliette.

THE PAYMENT OF THE BRIDE PRICE

Mbia pays the bride price (200,000 Franc), he gives it to Mbarga who counts it with Abessolo then gives it to Atangana. In this act the playwright discloses that Mbia has got eight wives, therefore if he marries Juliette she will be the ninth wife. In addition to that the playwright shows that, none of these wives of Mbia went to secondary school like Juliette, so if Mbia succeed to marry Juliette, she is highly expected to rule the house. After Mbia had paid the bride price he tells people that he has to attend a cocktail party at the secretary of the state’s private residence that evening.

JULIETTE QUERRLES WITH THE FAMILY

Juliette is not happy with what her family has done to her particularly on the question of marriage since she has not been consulted. She sticks to her stand that she loves her fiancé Oko instead of the two suitors (ndi and Mbia). This causes a serious conflict between Juliette and Oyono since he consider that Juliette does not love him because the money paid for Juliette’s bride price could be paid for Oyono to pay for his future wife. Therefore Juliette’s refusal to marry the civil servant simply means that Oyono misses the wife.

EATING MANNER

People go to eat inside, the act discloses that, traditionally, children are supposed to observe eating manners. When eating, elders are heard scolding the children who don’t eat properly.

JULIETTE STEALS THE BRIDE PRICE AND GIVES IT TO OKO

Juliette meets to Oko who was coming to her home place, she informs him of the disaster which had befallen her. At the beginning, Oko seems not to understand the matter very well therefore she supports  Juliette to get married but after being aware that Juliette ‘s family has chosen suitors for her , he becomes very upset since he loves Juliette so much that he is ready to marry her. Juliette suggests going inside the house so as to steal the bride price already paid by Ndi and Mbia. She runs to the main house promising Oko to bring him three hundred thousand francs. Kouma also is shown coming with his old motorcycle and talks to Oko. Meanwhile later, Julliette comes out of the main house with an old briefcase. Oko becomes happy after realizing the money meant to facilitate their marriage. Kouma forces Oko on the carrier of the motorcycle telling him: “Come on, sit there, and you’ll soon be a wealthy man! Marriage is an expensive business nowadays! Better take advantage of your money, and get married!”

 ACT THREE

Ndi arrive at Atangana’s house the same day at night. He is told that Julliette is no longer interested to marry him since she is now crazy about Mbia. After hearing that, Ndi wants his money back so that he could go back to Awae, his home village. Atangana goes to the main house to take the money to pay back Ndi but he discovers both the money and briefcase missing. When the villagers understand what is going on, Mbarga is given a task to convince him (Ndi) to add another 100,000 franc and take Juliette right away. Ndi is ready to marry Juliette but when he is told to add another sum of money, he refuses to add the money and threatens to bring them police and he goes away. People are very scared but Mbarga advises them to try the civil servant who left him drinking Ark in his house.

MBIA THREATENS THE VILLAGERS

People decide to follow Mbia at Mbarga’s house so as to convince him to add one hundred thousand francs so as to take Juliette with him right away. They badly need the money to refund Ndi. Unfortunately for them, Mbia is not ready to add the money and threatens to bring them ten police Commissioners the following day. In the book, Mbia is shown ordering Engulu, his servant. “Take the name of this village in your note-book. Write that the people of this village have no respect for important civil servants like me. The roars leading to the Mvoutessi are poorly kept, and that the houses have not been while wished in expectation of the honour of my visit. The women of this village are illegally distilling Arki” After having finished this drama, he goes to the road with his driver, leaving the villagers confused.

ACT FOUR

The act begins showing the same place at night; there is a stage which is now lit by the witch-doctor’s red fire. All the villagers, male and female, stand in circle behind Sangatiti, the witch-doctor and his assistant who are seen dancing. People decide to call the witch doctor to help them find out who stole the money. The witch-doctor demand a lot of things such as rams, ducks and cocks before the solving the problem. He fools the villagers by telling them a series of lies. Then the villagers became aware that he was fooling them, their eyes were now open, they angrily rush towards him and his assistant and they drive them out shouting at him: “ you liar…you scoundrel…you robber …etc”.

ACT FIVE

The act begins showing that it is the next day, a particularly sunny afternoon. The men of the village are gathered in front of Atangana’s main house. They are shown to be disappointment by Juliette’s disobedience as she is not ready to get married to either Ndi or Mbia. They say that the girl (Juliette) is corrupted by secondary school. It is then suggested by the people that Atangana should take Juliette to Younde (the capital city of Cameroon) and visit all the offices so that she could attract the other suitors in the city. They keep on convincing him (Atangana) that if any one agrees to pay him three thousand francs at once, he should give him Juliette right away. After hearing this comment, Juliette now make up her mind and accept to marry any man who would pay three hundred thousand francs at once, she says

“I’ll marry the first man who pays you three hundred thousand francs at once!.. but you’ll have to settle the marriage on the sport, without asking for any terylene suits, no rams, no pigs and no colanuts!.”

Juliette had high expectation that person would be Oko since he is expected to arrive there at any time. Unfortunately for her, the third suitor (Tchetgen) appears and people convince him to pay three hundred thousand francs claiming that Juliette is very educated. This is proved when Mbarga informs Tchetgen:“ she can also speak English, espana, espanol, Spanish, all these languages they teach at Dibamba!”. However, they fail to come to terms sinceTchetgen is ready to pay only two hundred thousand francs as dowry, therefore Tchetgen fail to marry Juliette.

THE COMING OF OKO

Oko is dressed like a great man smoking a long pipe. He is accompanied by Kouma and six musicians. Oko is ready to marry Juliette but he wants the girl be asked her opinion since she is the one who is getting married therefore it would be better for her to choose her own husband. The elders are strongly opposed to this suggestion, they fear Juliette could start her nonsense about marrying her school boy. Mbarga is shown telling Kouma: “ah! Kouma! Can’t you explain to Mr Dr of palm-tree leaves…er…doctor of Spanish and Espanol that women don’t speak here in Mvoutessi ! We’ve decide to give him Juliette! What has she got to do with it?

After that Kouma points at the floor and Juliette moves closer to them, pretending to look at them thoughtfully. Atangana timidly points at the leaf representing Oko while addressing the most eloquent winks to his daughter. Finally, Juliette chooses the leaf representing Oko, the bride price is paid and the marriage is settled. Atangana is heard telling her daughter: “you know, my child, I might as well have given you for nothing…….to that Lecrerc schoolboy of yours.”

THEMES (THEMATIC ANALYSIS)

POSITION/ROLE OF WOMEN

The so called role of women is played by a girl (Juliette), the way she is courageous. She tries to protest against oppressive traditional customs of their society. For instance she is forced to marry by men whom she doesn’t love but she tries to protest although it is against their tradition. This makes her achieve her goal. For instance she achieves to marry Oko, a boy whom she loved so much. From the story, women are positioned as follows

  • Firstly they are traditionally oppressed. For instance when Juliette arrives at home, she becomes shocked for she is told that they want her to marry, the bride price has been already paid for her when she was at school and she was not informed. For stance Obessolo says “Consult a woman about her marriage?” this shows that a woman is undermined. I.e. not involved in decision making.
  • Women are also denied from being educated. Juliette wants to continue with studies but her parents thinks that marriage is much important than further education.
  • Women are used as the source of income. For instance the whole Juliette’s family and their neighbors want Julliette to marry Mbia, who seems to be richer than Ndi so as to improve their life standards. They force Juliette to marry him just because he is very rich while Juliette is not in love with him.
  1. From the play there exist various conflicts. The first conflict takes place when the money paid for bride price is stolen by Juliette while Ndi is in need of his money (100,000/= Francs) to be refunded back to him. They try to deceive Ndi that he should pay 200,000 Francs more so that they can pay them back to Mbia and he will marry their daughter (Julliette). Ndi refuses and threatens to call the Police from Zoetele. Then they go back to Mbia, Mbia refuses and threatens to call ten Police. Hence conflict takes place. There is also the conflict between Juliette against her family over the issue of marriage. That is Juliette wants marry by Oko, a man who is not preferred by her family because he is poor. her parents want her to marry a reach man (Mbia). Juliette is not ready to be married by Mbia. Hence conflict.

The causes of conflicts from the play

  • In a particular society, women are not allowed to choose a man to marry. That’s why Juliette’s parents chose Mbia and Ndi for their daughter. But when Juliette comes back from school she goes against such traditions. This is because she is conscious that it is undermining her. It does not give her a chance for decision making. Hence conflict takes place.
  • This is also one amongst the causes of conflicts. For instance in order to solve the issue of marriage between Juliette and her suitors, Mbarga suggests that a witchdoctor (Sanga Titi) will solve such a problem but late on, Sanga Titi fails to solve. As the result they chase him away having discovered that he is a liar.
  • Juliette seems not to love Mbia and Ndi. She is in love with Oko. That’s why she hinders her parents’ plans to marry Mbia. This leads into conflict between her (Juliette) against her parents.

POVERTY

Juliette’s family seems to be poor that’s why they accept money from the two suitors and they are ready to offer their daughter to any of them especially the one who pays a lot of money for bride price. For instance they suggest that Mbia should marry Juliette because he had paid 200,000 Francs which is greater than 100,000 Francs paid by Ndi. They also prefer Mbia, for he is a civil servant, therefore he will save them from financial problems.

IGNORANCE

The majority (Villagers) including Juliette’s parents are ignorant. For instance they fail to discover that, Mbia is rich but a womanizer, hypocrite, deceitful and corrupt. For instance having paid 200,000 Francs he deceives people that he has to leave since he is going to attend a cock tail party while he was going to have a drink (arki). But still they want him to marry Juliette. Apart from that he is a polygamist, who has eight wives but still Julliette’s parents want Julliette to be his ninth wife.

CONSCIOUSNESS/AWARENESS

Julliette is aware that her parents are ignorant that’s why she tries to make her own decisions For instance she succeeds to marry her choice (Oko), her parents wanted her to marry Mbia, who is deceitful and hypocrite. Also Kouma is aware that Sanga Titi is a liar. He tries to expose to the villagers that he is a liar and as the result they chase him away.

This is an act of making people believe something which is not true. Mbia is deceitful and a liar, as he tries to make people believe something that is not true, for instance after paying 200,000/- Francs he deceives people by saying “I am going to attend a cocktail party at the secretary of states private residence this evening” as the result he goes to drink Arki (gongo). Also when Juliette’s parents follow him at the place where he was drinking he threatens to call the police so that they can arrest them. We also see Julliette deceiving people that she will only marry a man who pays 300,000/-Francs while she has stolen that money and handles it to Oko. And Oko eventually deceives people that the money belongs to him. People believe and accept marriage between Julliete and Oko after being deceived. Therefore deceit is what makes Julliette achieves her goals.

This is the situation whereby a character fails to fulfill a promise or something expected by another character. The villagers including Juliette’s family are disappointed because of their ignorance. For instance they were expecting that Juliette would marry Mbia and they would enjoy life as he is very rich but Juliette refuses to marry him. Hence disappointment takes place for, Juliette’s failure to fulfill marriage between her and Mbia. Also both Mbia and Ndi are disappointed by Juliette because they were expecting to be Juliette’s husband but in the end Juliette decides/achieves to marry Oko.

IGNORANCE

The term ignorance simply means the situation in which people lack knowledge or awareness about a specific subject or fact in their society in particular and around other societies at large. For example in this book, the playwright shows how people in Mvoutessi society, most of the female children are despised, segregated and abused to the maximum, they are not allowed to go to school, they are just regarded as burdens to the society. This is clearly evidenced in the book when Abessolo is heard shouting: “That proves what I always say: never send your daughters to secondary school! Look at Matalina who never went to secondary school! Doesn’t she always speak like a sensible and obedient girl?” The question of ignorance has been one of the serious barriers towards realizing sustainable development. The society with ignorant people like Mbarga, Abessolo and Bella experience no form of development. Ignorance is an enemy of the people in particular and development at large; therefore it should be attacked with all our effort.

POLYGAMY

Polygamy refers to the tendency in which a person tends to have more than one wife at the same time. This practice has been a common play in Africa, particularly in rural communities. In this book, polygamy is seen as measure of virility or sign of prestige among men. For example, in this play, the playwright shows how Mvoutessi villagers are polygamous, a good example of this include deputy of the secretary of the state, Mbarga and Mbia just to mention a few. Mbia is also shown in the book to have eight wives and if he marries Juliette, she will be the ninth wife. The practice of polygamy is very dangerous particularly in the contemporary world since it is a possible way of spreading HIV/AIDS. When a man has many wives, it is possible that some of the wives will not be faithful in marriage. This is because; it is difficult for a single man to satisfy the needs of all women sexually, so it is advised to do away with this marriage practice if we are to be HIV/AIDS free.

CONSERVATISM

Conservatism refers to the tendency of the people to resist great or sudden changes due to the reason that they prefer traditional style and values. In this book for instance, Bella and Abessolo (Juliette’s grandparents) are good example of a conservative persons. Abessolo supports the traditional values and primitive custom that women should be inferior before men. On top of that, he also supports the outdated custom of wife beating; Apart from Abessolo, Bella is also portrayed in this book as conservative. She still keeps the traditional custom of choosing girls their future husbands. Conservatism plays a very significant role to undermine social welfare as whole and gender equality in particular. It is rational that people should abandon such a poor belief so as to ensure development in all spheres of life.

 SUPERSTITION

This refers to the widely held but irrational (not logical or reasonable) belief in supernatural influences, especially as bringing good or bad luck. This practice has become a common game in most of the third world countries particularly the African countries. For example, in this play, the playwright shows that when Atangana and his fellow elders realize that the bride price paid by the two suitors (Ndi and Mbia) is missing, they decide to all Sangatiti, the witch doctor to help them find out who stole their money. This is well evidenced in the play when Mbarga, the village headman is heard convincing people:“We could once discover the unknown!…shouldn’t we now send for a witch-doctor?… yes, we need a witch-doctor1 you know Sangatiti, the great witch-doctor, is somewhere near Mfouladja. Let’s send Kouma there to ask him to come.”Superstition can lead to serious damages in the society such as killings, brutality and conflicts among the societal members. The killings of albinos and old women with red eyes in Tanzania can be a good example of superstitious beliefs. Having considered the side effects of this practice, the root causes of the belief should be uprooted in the society for the good of the entire nation.

 AWARENESS

Awareness can simply be defined as knowledge that someone has about something good or bad that is existing within the society together with its advantages. In this play, the playwright shows that young people like Juliette, Oko and Kouma are aware of the various things in their society as a result of formal education they had acquired. Awareness acts as a pillar of the social development. People with awareness tend to be creative, curious and critical in many things concerning social welfare as well as aware of the various things hindering social development.

ILLUSION

Illusion refers to the state in which a person develops false beliefs or ideas which may not come into reality. Illusion is common in many African countries. For example in this play, illusion is shown among the villagers of Mvoutessi. For example Matalina, Ondua’s daughter is having illusion that she will one day get married to an important person like Mbia who will take her out of the village. She also expects that she will live a very luxurious life after getting married. The Mvoutessi villagers are also portrayed to be full of illusion such that they have very high expectations of getting so many things after Juliette is married to a greater man, Mbia that is the reason why they despise Oko and Ndi. Illusion can also be proved when Matalina is heard commenting: “How lucky! My cousin was definitely born with a star on her forehead, fancy marrying a wealthy man! She’ll soon have lots of dresses, blonde wigs, she’ll soon have everything!.”

NEPOTISM (FAVOURITISM)

This refers to the act whereby people tend to serve the other people not due to their academic qualification but because they are the relatives or because they know them. This is another form of corruption and is so vivid in the government offices. The government officials serve the people that they know and sometimes cannot take any measures against such people in case they commit an illegal act (crime). For example in the play, Mbarga is never touched by the police although his wife makes and sells Arki since he is the village headman but other common people like Ondua are always caught and beaten by the police. Apart from that, also common villagers get problems in obtaining gun permits just because they are not known by anybody in those offices that is why they expect that mbia canassist them. This is well proved in this play when Abessolo is heard advising Atangana.

 ALCOHOLISM

This refers to the situation of having drunk so much alcohol such that it is impossible to think or speak early for example in this play the writer has used several characters such as Ondua, Mbarga and Mbia who are drunkards to represent this theme to us. Most of Mvoutessi men are drunkards such that they spend most of their time only drinking leaving all the economic activities in the hands of their wives. For example at the beginning of this play, Oyono and Ondua are represented playing a game of “Songho” and making frequent use of a calabash of palm wine set beside them. Oyono is also seen now and then going to pour some wine for his father (Atangana) and grandfather (Abessolo) while the women such as Matalinaand Bella do not drink; instead they are busy cracking peanuts. The writer continues to describe Ondua as the best of all drunkards in the village. For example in the book, Bella is heard telling Matalina when going back home: “yes, my child! Go and join your mother Monica! She must be feeling lonely in the house, with your father still drinking at the headman’s house

AFRICAN CULTURE

This refers to the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular society or group. The playwright has used Mvoutessi village to represent the African culture found in many other African societies. Some of the predominant African culture depicted in the book is the following:

i) Food taboos: Mvoutessi villagers have their own food taboos. For example women and young men are not allowed to eat vipers but young men eat the vipers by special permission. For example in this book Mbarga is shown complaining of the young men Belinga and Owono of eating viper without elder’s permission.

ii) Religion: Most of the villagers in this play still keep many traditional beliefs. They believe in their gods and spirits such as owls and chimpanzees. They also strongly believe in the power of their dead ancestors who watch over the society from the spiritual world.

iii)  Marriage: Villagers have their own tradition on the matters of concerning marriage. For example, girls are not allowed to fall in love without the permission

CHARACTERIZATION

JULIETTE

  • She is the young girl, who goes against an oppressive tradition belief.
  • She is educated and passed her exams at Dibamba Secondary School.
  • She is the daughter of Atangana and so the granddaughter of Obessolo.
  • She is the one who has three suitors including Mbia, Ndi and Oko.
  • She achieves to marry the man of her choice (Oko) despite the obstacles from her parents. She is also deceitful i.e. she steals the money paid by Mbia and Ndi as the bride price to marry her and takes it to Kouma so that they can give Oko so much that Oko can pay for her as the bride price.
  • She plays the so called roles of women, for she achieved to stand in front of people and say something.
  • She also achieves to marry the man of her choice (Oko).

Oko

  • Like Juliette, he is a student.
  • He succeeds to marry Juliette although Juliette’s family did not accept him because he is poor and just a student like Juliette.
  • They later on accept him because Juliette stole the money paid by Mbia and Ndi from her father (Atangana) and gives him to pay as the bride price (The total sum of 300,000/= Francs).
  • He is also against oppressive tradition which hinders development.

Mbia

  • He is a Civil servant, the second suitor to Juliette.
  • He is the most preferable suitor to all other suitors by Juliette’s parents. This is because he is wealthier than others. Despite his richness Julliette rejects her. He pays 200,000/- Francs as the bride price to marry Juliette.
  • He is deceitful, a liar and corrupt. For instance after paying the bride price he says that he is going to attend a cocktail party while he is going to drink Arki (gongo).
  • He is a polygamist, for he has eight wives. Therefore he wants Juliette to be his ninth wife.

Kouma

  • He is Julliette’s cousin, who is educated.
  • He facilitates marriage between Juliette and Oko.
  • He is conscious and like Juliette he is against tradition.

Oyono

  • He is Juliette’s young brother,
  • He is not married. He is proud of marriage between Mbia and his sister (Juliette) because he will get enough money and he can use it to get his wife.
  • Therefore he is against Juliette, who refuses to be married to a rich man (Mbia)

Atangana

  • He is Juliette’s father, the husband of Markita.
  • The son of Obessolo and Bella. He oppresses his wife traditionally. For instance his wife works in the farm while he (Atangana) stays at home, making baskets.
  • Then when his wife comes late he becomes angry. He conflicts with Julliette (his daughter) when Juliette refuses to marry Mbia.
  • This is because he is in need of money and financial help and Mbia seems to be the only rich suitor.
  • Therefore he exploits his daughter, for he uses her as she source of income. For instance he promises that once Juliette’s bide price will be paid he will take some amount to get his son Oyono a wife.
  • He is a superstitious as he believes Sanga-Titi, who is not a really witchdoctor.

Markita

  • She is Atangana’s wife.
  • Like Bella, she is unconscious.
  • She believes that women are normally inferior to men. She is oppressed by her husband but she doesn’t react (unconsciousness).
  • She thinks that it is a normal thing. She is very rich ideologically. For instance at first she claims that Ndi is a good suitor because he helps her in the farm but later on she believes that it is Mbia, who is the best suitor just because it is decided by her husband.

MbargaIs

  • He is the village headman.
  • Like Mbia, he is a drunkard and corrupt.
  • He supports traditions and he is conscious. For instance he believes that Sanga-Titi is really witchdoctor.
  • He distills Arki and he is not caught (corrupt).

Sanga Titi

  • He is conscious than villagers as he succeeds to deceive them. For instance he pretends to be a witchdoctor and they all believe him.
  • Therefore he gets money from the villagers using their ignorance.
  • He later on fails to reveal the truth about the money stolen at Atangana’s house as the result they discover that he is a liar and then they eventually chase him away.

Obessolo

  • He is the father of Atangana who represents the oldest generation.
  • He wants to stop marriage between Mbia and Juliette because of their close relationship but he later on accepts after being convinced by Mbarga.
  • He believes that the so called education destroys the young i.e. Julliette has been destroyed by education because he is against their traditions. But the same person is proud of Juliette’s education and demands more money because Juliette is educated (ignorance).

Bella

  • She is Obessolo’s wife.
  • Like Markita she believes that women are always inferior to men.
  • She is ready to perform any duty she is assigned by her husband.
  • She is ready to be beaten by her husband.
  • She believes that Juliette’s behavior is not good as he tries to reject marriage between her and Mbia.

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