In the play Blood of a stranger, playwright Raymond Dele-Charley critiques the exploitation of Africans who finds themselves under a European power. The play open with Maligu, the chief advisor, announcing, from a letter he received, that an unknown white man would be coming to their village. He has of course convinced the corrupt priest, soko, to prophecy that they should welcome this visitor. In a community that has not accepted visitors since the war, this is hard news to take. Visitors to them mean sickness, disease and fighting. But because the people of Mando land believes that Soko has sent been sent this vision from their forefathers, they make preparations to welcome the visitor. Kindo, chief warrior and son of the King, feels something is amiss. He knows that Soko and Maligu are corrupt, and his suspicious when Soko claims to have had visions permitting the stranger entry. The white man, white head, soon reveals to Maligu that his true motive is diamonds. He has lied to the king, giving the impression that he would plant tobacco, build a school and help the village. His real intention is to have the farmers unknowingly harvest the diamonds for him.
Apart from being a very gripping drama, the play vividly exhibits key aspects of Sierra Leone history and culture. The white man symbolizes Britain’s rape of Sierra Leonean natural resources. In this play, Sierra Leone people are presented not only as victimized, but also as complicit in the exploration of their own people. Through the gifts of “strange tobacco” and alcohol, Whitehead takes advantage of the drugged natives and exploits their 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 always wins out against oppression.
The play, The Blood of a stranger, is amplified drama. It is about the life and culture of a Sierra Leone village of Mando and an attempt by a white man to capitalize on the people’s ignorance to exploit the people of their rich natural resources. The White man used money to manipulate the King’s adviser Maligu who influenced the village priest Soko into deceiving for King and the entire village.
The play is set in the village of Mando, old Sierra Leone during the colonial era. This is the period the white men came to Africa with religion and started exploiting the black man’s resources.
This play narrates the way some unscrupulous white men invade the villages of some African countries, using some of their elites and hard drug on the people to defraud them on their rich natural resources.
The play also shows the belief of Africans in their gods and how much they respect and fear their gods. As the play begins Soko the village priest and Maligu the King’s adviser were seen at the shrine discussing the coming of the White man, which Maligu claimed it was through a letter from his brother in the city.
The invisible letter claimed that a Whitman is coming to the village to engage in tobacco farming. For the people to welcome this white man into their village, of which he (Maligu) will make money from, he contacted the village priest, Soko to execute the plan. He made Soko to agree with him in telling the people that the gods says that the stranger (the White man) should be accepted.
The king agreed with them but the village chief warrior, Kindo did not agree. He (Kindo) puts up a serious argument on what the gods said said about the stranger, but the king (Santigi of Mando) insisted that the white man must be accepted. When the whiteman and his aid came to the village they did not come to greet the king. Kindo was furious about this, and asked the warriors to go and bring them to the palace. The right hand man of the Whiteman, Parker was flogged and Kindo made Whitehead (the Whiteman) to bow and kiss the ground in front of him. Thereafter, the Whitehead and his man were allowed to stay.
Whitehead ordered for gin and hard drug, tobacco and gave the people, which made them to misbehave and the females
gave in anywhere in the village. Kindo was angry and challenged Whitehead, his defense was that, the females did not reject.Whitehead and Parker went to the king and the king reminded him about his promises to the village. Whitehead told the king to tell the people to work hard for there is no tobacco, his promises cannot be actualized. When the king left to inform the people about what the Whitman has just said, Whitehead used the opportunity to informed Maligu that he actually came for the business of diamond. That he only deceived the people by making them believe it is tobacco, and also informed him of his plan to kill Kindo.
They plan to do false virgin sacrifice, the day Soko the priest was killed by Parker; Kindo found out and killed Parker. Maligu now wore the priest mask to perform the sacrifice, then Kindo came and exposed all their works. The Whitehead and Maligu conspired against Kindo, that Kindo killed Parker during peacetime, so he should be banished. Thus the king sent Kindo on exile. But before Kindo left the village, he told the people about the evil plan against the custom and the tradition of the land. And he killed Whitehead before leaving the village in company of his warriors.
THEME STRUCTURES IN THE BLOOD OF A STRANGER BY DELEY CHARLEY
Colonial interference and patriarchal oppression of women are among the historical and social problems that Sierra Leone have to deal with. The play addresses both historical and social issues that still resonate in the nation today. Though a historical account does present a certain perspective on the past, a dramatization of that history brings out the emotional import of these experiences.
The play truly aid our understanding of 19th and 20th century Sierra Leone. The social, political and historical issues that playwright have grappled with, such as colonial arrogance, the ambivalance of history, the exploitation of African womanhood, and the consequences of modernity. Other themes in play are;
Deceit: This theme is observed in the play when Maligu the King’s adviser, a chief and one of the corrupt person in the play influenced the village priest Soko to tell lies to the king and the villagers about the visit of the White man.
His true intention was to exploit the community and enslave the people.
Corruption: This theme played out in the life of Soko the village priest and Maligu the King’s adviser. Maligu, a corrupt person, played on the hidden secret of the priest, knowing they both have something to hide. Since Maligu was determined to gain something from the whiteman, he influenced Soko to collaborate with him and the white man for monetary gratification in return from the whiteman.
Believe in gods: The theme of over dependent on the gods made the gods so vulnerable to Soko lies in deceit. Maligu knew this fact, that was why he contacted Soko the village priest to hatch a plan and tell the people that the gods say that the white man should be accepted into the village.
Distrust and Fear: The play open by telling us that the people have so much trust in the custodians of the customs and traditions, the king, the village priest and Kindo the village warrior. As Kindo risks being banished from the land for killing the white man, he gave his farewell speech saying
, after which he departed.
CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY
Maligu: He was the King’s Adviser and a chief, a corrupt person in the play.
Kindo: He is the chief warrior of the village and the son of the king. He was the one who was against all the plans of Maligu and Soko.
Wara: She is the woman of Kindo. She was the one Maligu and Soko put in the sack and took to the White man’s compound. She escaped being raped by the white man.
Santigi: He is the king of the village of Mando. He is the father of Kindo. He was deceived by maligu to support the stranger coming to the village.
Parker: He is a Blackman, the right-hand of the White man, the stranger in the village.
Whitehead: He is the Whiteman himself in the play, the stranger in the village.
1st Man: When the people have been drugged and under the influence of gin, he was praising the Whitehead.
Boko: A warrior in the village loyal to Kindo.
Note: Some characters I wrote here I omitted their roles in the play but in exam condition without writing the role they played you won’t get full marks.