Chief Matenge Character Analysis

This essay sample essay on Matenge offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.

This assignment is based on Bessie Head’s authoritative novel. When Rain Clouds Gather. It gives an appraisal of one of the novel’s chief characters. Chief Matenge and in the procedure exposes him as an undoubtedly corrupt leader. This is supported by the many intertwined facts and citations that portray his character as such a leader and these are selected and presented from the novel.

Matenge’s Role in When Rain Clouds Gather

Byrne. Kalua. Scheepers and Kane ( 2012:100 ) provide the foundation for the reader’s understanding that Chief Matenge is a corrupt leader which in bend shapes the whole negative position of his personality when they describe him as stand foring the “Old Africa” at its worst – moral devolution. Traveling through the whole novel the reader battles and finally loses the conflict in happening anyplace where any positive impressions are associated with Chief Matenge.

Bryne et Al ( 2012:100 ) present Matenge as a “villain. a bad individual who is openly corrupt” .

He is beyond doubt the adversary and the adversary of Gilbert Balfour and Makhaya who by and large stand for good in the name of advancement and development in the novel. Head ( 1987:18 ) introduces Chief Matenge as Paramount Chief Sekoto’s “troublesome and unpopular younger brother” . This already gives the reader an thought of what kind of personality Chief Matenge has. This description of him sets the tone in the whole novel as he is farther described utilizing such adjectives and phrases as “overwhelming avariciousness” and “unpleasant personality” .

Get quality help now
Bella Hamilton

Proficient in: Character

5 (234)

“ Very organized ,I enjoyed and Loved every bit of our professional interaction ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

( Head 1987:18 ) .

It shortly becomes evident that Chief Matenge’s brother. Paramount Chief Sekoto does non wish his ain brother. as the statement “nothing disquieted Chief Sekoto more than a visit from his brother. whom he had long classified as belonging to the insane portion of mankind” ( Head 1987:48 ) clearly shows. Paramount Chief Sekoto is said to hold ever sided with villagers who his brother invariably upset. Head ( 1987:18 ) nowadayss Matenge as holding a “devil” that drove him and would lessen after some chastising from Chief Sekoto merely to rouse its “clamouring and howling” a few months subsequently.

Matenge’s evil is farther unfolded in the want of Chief Sekoto to destruct him for “all the household feuds and machinations he had instigated” ( Head 1987:20 ) . Ironically. Paramount Chief Sekoto was non what one would name a shining illustration of morality. Chief Sekoto. “although he was widely known as a good chief” ( Head 1987:19 ) merely like his brother Matenge “lived off the slave labor of the hapless and his lands were ploughed free of charge by the hapless. and he was washed. bathed and fed by the poor” ( Head 1987:19 ) . In bend Matenge besides strongly despised his brother Paramount Chief Sekoto.

Head ( 1987:42 ) discloses this when she reveals his ideas about his brother who he in secret thought was “an amicable. pleasant dimwit of a brother in the supreme place. Matenge coveted is brother’s place of Paramount Chief. Matenge is referred to as “evil” countless times in the novel. Dinorego farther exposes this evilness or corruptness when he confides in Makhaya that he ( Matenge ) was the evil force detaining advancement in the small town. Dinorego reveals Matenge’s intrigues to “damage” and “delay” the starting of the farm and the cowss co-operative which are undertakings that are supposed to force development in the small town.

Matenge is said to hold peculiarly sabotaged Gilbert Balfour on the cowss co-operative because he was personally profiting from purchasing the hapless villagers’ cowss at a low monetary value and doing immense net incomes by so selling them at a much higher monetary value. Matenge took advantage of the hapless villagers’ inability to engage railroad trucks to transport their ain cowss because they could non afford it. Matenge fought Gilbert Balfour’s cattle co-operative because it would set him out of concern. Matenge’s falsities and cunningness are clearly portrayed when he lies to the villagers that Gilbert wanted to enslave them.

“Was it true they wanted to cognize. that Gilbert had in secret purchased land from the paramount Chief and was utilizing the name co-operative to enslave the people? That was what Chief Matenge had told them” ( Head 1987:35 ) . The reader would non waver to label Matenge as greedy and selfish. Head ( 1987:41 ) reveals that Matenge lived entirely ( before Joas Tsepe joined him ) in a “big cream-painted mansion” . The other villagers are said to hold lived in little and crude clay huts and were in fact non allowed to construct brick houses without permission from the Chief which was seldom given. if at all.

Head ( 1987:41 ) goes on to advert that the cardinal small town where Matenge’s sign of the zodiac was situated contained “one really hapless general dealer’s store which supplied the villagers with the “bare necessities” wish sugar. tea and “cheap stuffs and shoes” among other points. The location of Matenge’s “big mansion” was besides in propinquity to a “three-roomed shack” which serves as the small town primary school. The jarring contrast of Matenge’s apparently epicurean life manner and his milieus nauseates the reader and speaks aloud of his hoggishness and selfishness.

The reader can safely impeach Matenge of being a tribalist. Byrne et Al ( 1987:100 ) describe tribalism as the pattern of progressing one’s ain folk above others and judging other people on the footing of their tribal beginnings. Matenge is described as a “die difficult traditionalist” ( Head 1987:42 ) . He wanted things to stay the same. He is said to hold understood tribalism and that it was “essentially the regulation of the illiterate adult male who when he was in the bulk. feared and despised anything that was non a portion of the abysmal darkness in which he lived” .

( Head 1987:65 ) further portrays his disgust for other folks when he is said to hold dismissed Dinorego’s recognizing at some point with a “slight gesture of the caput which contained in it an heritage of centuries of disdain for the ordinary adult male. ” His shaky and timeserving relationship with Joas Tsepe is another disclosure of Matenge’s lopsided and corrupt character. Joas Tsepe was besides corrupt and this is revealed in the patron that was shrouded in enigma who supplied him with money which enabled him to stay unemployed and to go every six months by air as a really of import individual. Matenge besides has xenophobic inclinations.

His want to trail Makhaya out of the small town really much smelt of this. This is revealed when George Apple-by confides in Makhaya that Matenge wants him “removed” from the small town because he is a refugee. Refugees were by and large non liked in Botswana at the clip of the book’s puting when many came from South Africa running off from Apartheid. but Matenge’s peculiar hatred for Makhaya as a refugee and all like him comes out when he referred to him as a “South African swine who ever needs to run after his master” ( Head 1987:66 ) . mentioning to Makhaya’s shut association with Gilbert Balfour.

To state Makhaya was exhaustively offended by this is an understatement for unbeknown to Matenge. he in secret formed ideas of slaying him. In decision Head ( 1987:43 ) could non hold summed up Chief Matenge’s character better when she described him as “the prototype of darkness with his long gloomy. melancholy. leery face and his ceaseless machinations. acrimonious green-eyed monster and hatred” .

Makhaya besides equates him to several unsavory points such as a “lout. darnel. Canis familiaris and swine and he reckoned the “Matenges everyplace got themselves into a place over the poor” ( Head 1987:136 ) The reader agrees with Mma Millipede when she softly but unsuspectingly accurately predicts Chief Matenge’s death. She tries to quiet Makhaya after his dramatic brush with Chief Matenge where he is labeled a South African swine and says. “People who err against human life like our Chief and the white adult male ( mentioning to Apartheid in South Africa ) do so merely because they are more blind than others to the enigma of life.

Some clip life will catch up with them and set them off for good or alteration them” ( Head 169:137 ) . In Chief Matenge’s instance. he was luckless to non endure the later of these anticipations. but the former. After he comes back from a instead long absence from the small town. he instantly gets back to what he knows best and biddings Pauline and six small town seniors to be tried. Unbeknown to him. the whole small town was excited that the twenty-four hours had arrived that they would confront their “persecutor of many years” ( Head 169:184 ) .

Because Matenge was non anticipating a crowd. he panics. retreats into the house. and instead than confronting the crowd. commits suicide. and the reader discovers another concealed character that was skulking in Matenge all along. cowardliness. Not even his retainers stand by him at his clip of demand ; they beat a headlong retreat and leave him to cover with his issues entirely and his eyes are opened and possibly he eventually sees himself for the monster that he is. The saddest portion is non even his brother is quiet disappointed by his death. Chief Sekoto’s digestion is said to hold been “upset the whole day” by Matenge’s decease. Head ( 1987:189 ) .

The reader is certain it is non because he is sorrowing for his brother but he is unappreciative of the dither and incommodiousness that the decease causes. Such is the destiny of the adversary of When rain clouds gather. The reader applauds Bessie Head on successfully making a fitting scoundrel who one can non assist but detest. SOURCES CONSULTED Byrne. D. Kalua. F & A ; Scheepers. R. 2012. Foundations in English Literary Studies. Merely analyze Guide for ENG1501. Capital of south africa: University of South Africa Head. B. 1987. When Rain Clouds Gather. Heinemann.

Cite this page

Chief Matenge Character Analysis. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7