Setting/Background of the play

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THEME OF COLONIALISM: The presence of the colonial governor, the messenger, the fighting white men and the denigrating treatment of local traditional rulers suggest the colonial atmosphere that surrounds the entire play. Dr Rowe’s treatment of Gbanya is highly suggestive of the aura of impudence and self-professed superiority colonial administrators exuded. By deciding to strip Yoko of her newly-acquired territories, Dr Rowe further demonstrates how these colonial administrators took Africans for granted. It will be recollected that Yoko painstakingly consults the governor before she embarks on her conquest of new territories. She does not go off limit but the governor strips her of the territories all the same.
Considerably, the powerlessness and puppetry of African traditional rulers is brought to notice.
THEME OF GENDER DISCRIMINATION: In Senehun and Mendeland at large, women are not treated as equals of men. Women are considered fragile, vulnerable and incapable of managing crises. At the beginning of the play when Gbanya drags Yoko into the inner chamber, he claims that he needs Yoko more than her Sande girls. To him, women have no responsibility than to satisfy men’s sexual urge.
Initially, Gbanya has promised Yoko she would be his successor. However, with troubles around, he feels reluctant to handover the throne to her because he believes women cannot handle a land at war. This is the same stance of Lamboi. The excuse he gives for wanting to kill Gbanya is because he does not want the latter to appoint Yoko as his successor.
Obviously, if not for Yoko’s doggedness and insistence, a woman would not have become the chief of Mendeland; talk more of expanding the chiefdom.
In Mendeland, women usually are not allowed into the Poro cult. Yoko is the only exception. In the village, there is a certain prejudice held against women. They are considered inferior and except for Yoko who forges ahead, women are not assigned ruling positions.
THEME OF EXCESSIVE DESIRE FOR POWER: Lamboi craves for the throne of the chief and would do anything to become the chief of Mendeland. He recruits Musa with the excuse that a woman should not rule them. In his desperation to become the chief, he kills a chief and inspires the death of another.
Killing Gbanya is not the original plan but there is no way to become the king without taking away the incumbent chief and any opposition.

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