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Plot Summary 2

My Literature Lesson, today, looks at the plot summary of the major events that occur in The River and the Source.


The story is divided into four parts. The first part focuses on Akoko’s birth, childhood and marriage, the second looks at Akoko’s daughter, the third follows Akoko’s grand-daughter – Elizabeth and her family while the fourth pays attention to Akoko’s great-grandchildren.


The story begins with the birth of Akoko, the first daughter of Odero Gogni, the Chief of Yimbo. Akoko grows into a beautiful woman and her suitor, Owuor Kembo has to pay thirty head of cattle to marry her. The two are blessed with two boys – Obura and Owang’ Sino and a girl named Nyabera.

Unfortunately, Akoko losses her eldest son, her husband and her younger son to death, in quick succession which leaves her in the hands of her brother-in-law – Otieno Kembo.

Chief Otieno Kembo inherits the seat left vacant by his elder brother and uses the opportunity to take over Akoko’s property. Akoko is defiant and resorts to get help from the White man in Kisuma. Akoko manages to get some of her possessions back and decides to go back to Yimbo.


In this part, Nyabera is married to Okumu who, unfortunately, dies. Since Nyabera is only twenty-six, she is inherited by Ogoma Kwach – as tero custom dictates. Nyabera and Ogoma sire two children but both die due to sickle cell anaemia.

Battered and bruised, Nyabera seeks refuge at Aluor Mission where she is later joined by her mother, her daughter and nephew, Owuor. Nyabera goes back to Kwach in the hope of rekindling their marriage but is unsuccessful and returns to the mission.

Owuor Sino, the rightful heir to Owuor Kembo, drops his desire to succeed as Chief and instead opts to join priesthood. Awiti, on the other hand, trains as a teacher in a local college where she encounters Mark Sugu – a former soldier.

After meeting Mark Sigu, Akoko dies peacefully in her sleep and her grandson – Peter Owuor Kembo – presides over the mass.

Awiti, who is baptized as Elizabeth, and Mark move to Nakuru where they start a family. Their first child dies due to the young couple’s ignorance but they’re soon blessed with a set of twins.


Elizabeth and Mark move to Nakuru where they soon get a baby boy – Aoro. This is during the struggle for Kenya’s independence and due to political tension in Nakuru, Elizabeth is forced to go back to Aluor mission.

She comes back and the couple gets a boy, Tony, another set of twins – Opiyo and Odongo and the last born is a girl who they name Mary.

While Aoro shows interest in Medicine, Tony wants to pursue priesthood. Very and Becky take different paths with the former becoming an electrical engineer while the latter finds a career as an air hostess. Becky meets John Courtney – a Canadian – and the two get married.


Aoro joins medical school where he meets Wandia Mugo and the two develop a close friendship. While Aoro is an intern in Nairobi, Wandia is sent to Machakos for the same. The two get married despite coming from different tribes and they are blessed with a set of twins – Daniel and Lisa.

Becky, who is unhappy in her marriage despite being wealthy, leaves John and due to her unfaithfulness, becomes HIV positive and dies soon afterwards.

The Aoros adopt Becky’s children as they get two more children of their own – Mugo and Kipusa. It is also discovered that Daniel is suffering from Down’s syndrome and leukemia but his parents refuse to give up hope.

Wandia secures a scholarship at John Hopkin’s Hospital in America, where she is awarded a PhD. in medicine.

The book ends when Elizabeth dies having seen her children prosper in different areas of life


Get the full chapter by chapter summaries here.

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