Kabonyi is an elder from Makuyu and Kamau’s father. Kabonyi begins the story as a devout Christian and one of Joshua’s followers. However, he leaves the religion after Joshua disowns Muthoni for undergoing the tribal custom of circumcision and then callously upholds this decision even after she dies of an infection. Disturbed by Joshua’s behavior, Kabonyi wants to protect the tribe from the corrupting influence of the white colonialists, but he is jealous of Waiyaki’s influence and the way the villagers love him—Kabonyi believes that he should have their love instead. Furthermore, Kabonyi is the only person other than Chege who knows the old prophecies of a savior. He suspects that Waiyaki may be that savior, which infuriates him. Whereas Waiyaki believes education will save their tribe, Kabonyi believes they must fight with violence and preserve their traditional way of life. Kabonyi grows to hate Waiyaki so much that he wants to kill Waiyaki and works to undermine his influence and authority amongst the people. He creates the Kiama to defend tribal customs and oppose Christianity, and he forces all members, including Waiyaki, to take an oath of purity never to break tribal custom. He then accuses Waiyaki of breaking custom by wanting to marry Nyambura, an uncircumcised Christian. After slandering Waiyaki, Kabonyi claims that he is the tribe’s true savior. However, when Kabonyi turns the people against Waiyaki and defeats him, the ridges fall into silence, implying that Kabonyi cannot actually lead the people or defend them from the white colonialists.