He believes that his status as sub-chief is an inherited and fixed position and therefore unable to be challenged by anyone he considers inferior. Therefore, when he is threatened by Makhaya and Gilbert, he acts arrogantly and without consideration for the potential they offer to the community he is supposed to lead. Matenge is ultimately undone because of his despotism and ruthless disregard for his villagers. Even his own brother is relieved by his death.
Matenge is the main antagonist in the story. He is the sub- chief and ruler of Golema Mmidi, but also the brother of paramount chief Sekoto. The sub-chief is regarded by the people as a tyrant. Matenge is a egotistical megalomaniac, who has inherited un-paid “servants” and land so therefore feels superior. It is this personality which leads him to fight with everybody who has the intelligence to threaten his position. The conflicts with Makhaya.
As Makhaya is the main protagonist, it is obvious that there would be a conflict between, him, the kind-hearted and the evil tyrant, Matenge. The conflict between the sympathetic Makhaya and the dictator Matenge, is the main theme in the book as Matenge is ruling the people in the way which made Makhaya leave South Africa. For more information about his past go to Hints of Makhaya’s Past. Matenge’s persistence to rid himself of Makhaya is evident after Makhaya is called to Matenge mansion, and insults Matenge and Joas Tsepe.
Chief Matenge has a personality which causes a gut feeling, one which would indicate that he is after power and the ability to control; in other words evil. His sense of royalty is sickening, he treats all of his servants like slaves, and his one “friend”, another man looking for power, Joas Tsepe like a dog. These actions evoke the feeling which, all hero versus evil, stories have; in this case Matenge versus Gilbert and Makhaya. The satire in Chapter 5 helps to provoke the reader into despising this characte