Carol Ryan, author of Right Now Is Perfect, commented, after finishing Misfits and Heroes: West from Africa, that it would be nice to have a list of characters and their relationships since there are a lot of characters in the book. Good idea! So here they are, at least the major characters, roughly in their order of appearance:
The Leader (known to outsiders as The Black Rhino) and The She-Eagle are introduced briefly in the very beginning of the story as two leaders with a similar vision of a united network of villages connected by a river. Both reappear later.
Naaba is the troublemaker and outcast who is reclaimed by the bush.
Asha is the waterfoot who becomes Naaba’s partner after he cuts her bonds. She had been bought by Guedado to settle her father’s debt.
Komo/Lord Komo is the chief/shaman who developed a split identity. From the man who originally designed the circles of stones, he learned how to use the stones for simple calculations, including keeping track of days until the change of seasons, and he later turned the village into a successful trade center, but when he is wearing the mask, he becomes a supernatural, capable of standing at the hub of the dancing stones while the universe moves around him. At the same time, he is able to see his counterpart in the Underworld, where everything is moving at the same time but in the opposite direction. It is the dynamic balance of these forces that maintains the motion of the universe.
The work group at the tannery includes, among others:
Sohko – the leader
Zola – Ayo‘s brother, who is fascinated by the stone circles and briefly takes over as shaman after Komo’s death
Nassor – a bitter, unhappy man
An older man who is worried about his grandchildren: Deka and Sule, who are part of the whole story. Their father is Akin, the Rhino’s lieutenant.
Okung – a San man who is working as Komo’s servant and later on as Akin’s servant
Aminata – the leader of the women’s work group at Komo’s village
Ayo – the talented weaver, Zola’s sister
Akin, the Black Rhino’s lieutenant, the leader of the group attacking Komo’s village
Wekesa – the leader Akin appoints to relocate the villagers
Paki – a young man who is killed for resisting the invaders’ plan
The wonderful man with the snake, wild dogs, and finch talks a lot but never gives a name.
Dwyka – another name for the leader known as the She-Eagle
Sheeah – the spoiled daughter of Chief Tau
Afutu – the champion athlete and storyteller
Dashona – the main storyteller in the group
Chief Berko and Chief Kofi – the visiting heads of the other two villages on the coast
Emai – one of the visiting athletes at the festival, Afutu’s main competitor in the Feather Shoot
Players in the trenchball game include, among others, Afutu, Kojo, Udo, and Abran on Afutu’s team, and Naro, who is playing for the other team.
The people in the first boat: Naaba, Asha, Afutu, Sheah, Emai, Abran, and Dashona. In the second boat: Aminata, Sohko, Deka, Sule, and Ayo.
Chahuk – the man of many personalities
Lo and Lilla – the couple Naro meets
Noya – the woman on the cliff
Chel – the boy who sees the boats arrive. He and his mother are living with Naro and Ayo on the coast.
I hope that’s helpful!