The title “PASSED LIKE A SHADOW” is nothing but a catastrophic disease “HIV /AIDS” which attacks Adyeri’s family for a very short time and eventually only one member of the family (Abooki) who survives.

Therefore the author imaginatively compresses HIV/ AIDS with a catastrophe or a disaster for it attacks and kills a lot of people for a very short time.

The author satirizes Ugandan people because they are ignorant i.e. they do not know what HIV/ AIDS is all about, how to avoid it and what measures to be taken after they have been affected.

Because people who got it became thin, they nickname it (AIDS) as “slim” some of them used to go the witchdoctors believing or thinking that they will be cured.


The title of the novel is deduced from the song which was sung and performed by class five on the stage at Kinyamasika Primary School where Adyeri attended as one of the pioneers of the school when they sing

What have I done in this world?

What memories shall I leave when I’m one?

If memories I shall leave are only those

Of having eaten and drunk;

I shall be ashamed; there is no honour in that;

That is having passed on this earth like a shadow….


The book has ten chapters as summarized below


In this chapter Adyeri (Daddy) is seen treating his family in a cruel and or harsh manner when he comes back home, his young son (Atwoki) tries to escape and unfortunately while escaping, he bumps his sister (Abooki) who was carrying their daddy’s (Adyeri’s) food Adyeri becomes angry, he considers his son to have intended to make his food fall down.


He beats him heavily. His wife (Amoti) arrives, she plays her role i.e. to save her son from a beating of his father.

This leads into conflict between Amoti against her husband (Adyeri).

They start to quarrel against each other then Adyeri kicks his wife and he eventually decides to go and sleep with another woman.


In this chapter the issue of tribalism is revealed when Vicky, Atwoki’s cousin tries to tell her uncle (Adyeri) and her aunt (Amoti) that she wants to marry a man called Akena, Her aunt protests, she doesn’t agree with such a marriage because Akena is of another tribe (tribalism).

Her uncle Adyeri maintains that tribalism is nothing but bride price i.e. for example he says “I am the only person who puts on trousers in this room; I am the one to make a decisions. This is what I have decided; I do not care who marries Vicky, whether it’s a person, a cow or a donkey.

All I want is the dowry. I, ll fix the bride –price, and this man will cough it out.” If Akena will manage to pay a bride price, he will eventually marry her.

As the result Akena fails to pay the amount suggested by Adyeri. Adyeri suggests that he should pay 15 heads of cattle   including 3, 8 goats, 50,000/= shillings for buying bark cloth, 15,000/= shillings for buying Daddy’s walking stick and 2 jerry cans of beer.” While Akena is capable of paying only 2 cows.

Then disappointment takes place i.e. Vicky and  Akena are both disappointed because their marriage is unsuccessful.


The chapter introduces Atwoki’s talent i.e. He is good at football since he was in Primary two. In this chapter we also see uncle Araali’s visit to Adyeri’s home.

He realizes that Adyeri is incompetent and foolish i.e. he finds that there is neither food nor firewood and Adyeri is not at home.

He decides to give them some money to buy those missing things. For instance he says “oh dear, okay. Now take this money and go to purchase firewood and all you need in the kitchen.

You can use the matoke and fish which I have brought” Then Adyeri arrives, he is drunk, he feels ashamed for his irresponsiveness.


In this chapter, the so called “Deceit” takes place Vicky’s friends (Tusiime and Kunihira) try to deceive Vicky to find another man to look after her and forget about the poor boy (Akena).

They advice her not to depend on her foolish uncle (Adyeri).

They eventually achieve to change Vicky’s behavior into morally bad (depravity) i.e. Vicky starts attending discos at night.

When her uncle starts complaining about her behavior Vicky pleases him by giving him crates of beer and hard drinks.

She therefore gets lots of money from men. She becomes a prostitute and as the result she leaves Adyeri’s home.


This chapter introduces us to Adyeri’s background i.e. he was the  headmaster of St. Leos High School and he was fired from school because of his irresponsiveness i.e. he had a love affair with his secretary (Birungi).

We also see Adyeri’s tragedy’ he is tested and found to have been infected with HIV/ AIDS, his wife Amoti runs away with children. Having discovered that he is affected by HIV /AIDS, he thinks that God is unfair.

He fails to understand where he got such a disease because he made love with a lot of women apart from his wife.

His family alienates him as the result he goes to Birungi thinking that she will help him. Birungi chases him away. His resolution is to go back to Kachwamba.


Atwoki’s responsiveness is revealed in this chapter. He is rewarded the money after being the best scoring player in the African cups of nations and he uses the money to build a house at Katuma.

The house in which he (Atwoki) is living with his mother and his sister Abooki. Then we see Atwoki’s friends come with Adyeri at Atwoki’s home.

Atwoki accepts him although his mother Amoti keeps on complaining.

She is not ready to forgive Adyeri. Adyeri looks very thin.

His children Atwoki and Abooki start crying for their father’s situation.


In this chapter Atwoki changes his behavior into morally bad. He visits his friend (David) in Kampala David seems to be a womanizer, like his father.

This is because David’s father is very rich i.e. he goes out with David and enjoy with girls. David eventually convinces Atwoki to have love affair with a girl known as  Edda; he is given a room to sleep with Edda all the time he will be in Kampala.

David deceives Atwoki that Edda is safe of HIV/ AIDS. Therefore Atwoki starts love affairs with girls while before visiting Kampala, he has never slept with a girl all his life. (Depravity)


The chapter reveals people’s ignorance; Vicky and her husband (Aliganyira) decide to go to the witchdoctor so that he can solve their problem of not having children.

He had two wives before marrying Vicky and they have given birth to two children each.

We also see people’s ignorance on HIV /AIDS, victims consult a witchdoctor thinking that he will cure them.

The witchdoctor is also ignorant i.e. he uses a knife to treat people.

For instance the same knife he used to cure the patients who seem to have got HIV /AIDS, he uses it to cure Vicky and other patients before sterilizing it.


The chapter starts with Adyeri’s burial ceremony. People attend on his funeral ceremony; Atwoki’s behavior turns into immoral.

For instance, after the ceremony he goes back to Uganda, leaving his mother and his young sister alone without any moral or financial support.

He seems to have been affected by HIV /AIDS. Only Abooki tries to visit Vicky for a help. She meets Vicky but she is wondering to see Vicky is very thin.

Vicky warns Abooki not to do what she (Vicky) did.

In the same chapter there is the introduction of another character known as John.

 He is from a rich family. He pretends to help Abooki financially.

Abooki believes that John is her real friend. John invites Abooki at his room, and then John gives her a drink contaminated with drugs.

This happened when Abooki rose for a short call, when she was still in the toilet; John dropped a valium tablet in her glass.

When Abooki came back for her drink little did she knew that she had been drugged; she became drunk and lost her senses. She woke up next morning naked in John’s bed.

John eventually rapes her and breaks her virginity i.e. John has become the first boy to make love with her forcefully.

After getting consciousness Abooki discovers that she is no longer virgin, John has betrayed her. She thinks that John has infected her with HIV/ AIDS and or pregnancy.


The chapter introduces us to Jonathan, who meets Abooki; he tries to counsel Abooki who seems to have lost her hopes.

Jonathan advices her to go and have HIV and pregnancy test before thinking about infections.

After the test the results are both pregnancy and HIV negative.

The result pleases Abooki, she becomes very happy and she eventually thanks Jonathan for his advice.

Jonathan warns her not to engage in love affair. It is better to be loyal or to abstain from making sex. 

Jonathan eventually becomes Abooki’s best friend unlike John (a hypocrite boy). Therefore Abooki is the only survivor in Adyeri’s family.

She is the only lucky girl in the family because all other four members have acquired HIV/ AIDS i.e. Atwoki, Adyeri, Vicky and Amoti.

Adyeri is dead; others are waiting for death when their time comes.



Themes refer to the main idea (s) that the writer wants to show/share to his reader.

Normally themes involve issues related to social political and cultural aspects.

The truth of this statement can be well evidenced clearly by using the novel titled “PASSED LIKE A SHADOW” by Bernard Mapalala as follows.


This is a disease in which many people have been killed in hundreds and the disease is said to have no cure.

In the novel, the author aims at making the reader aware of this disease.

From the story we see Adyeri’s family; a family of 5 people is attacked by AIDS, and only one member of the family who survives (Abooki).

Apart from Adyeri, there are other people who in one way or another have a close relationship with such a family for instance David and his father, Edda (Atwoki’s girl), Birungi (Adyeri’s concubine) and Aliganyira (Vicky’s husband).

These are the HIV/AIDS victims.

HIV is a very dangerous disease since it keeps on weeping majority of people we should take appropriate measures to stop from its spread.

Equally important, we should not segregate those affected ones also the victim of the disease should not take it as advantage of deliberate spreading it to other un infected people as how the other characters like David and his father have been doing.


This is the situation whereby a character becomes morally bad after being influenced by other characters.

In the story we see Atwoki was a good character at first.

For instance he uses the money which he was rewarded as the best football player to build a house and he stays with his mother and sister, he eventually stays with his sick father (Adyeri) and helps his family morally and financially.

Before visiting Kampala Atwoki has never slept with a girl all his life.

But later on he changes his life. But later on he becomes a womanizer and as the result he gets HIV AIDS after being influenced by his friend David.

His behavior becomes morally bad for instance after burying his sick father (Adyeri) with only Abooki to take care of her and without enough money.

Therefore Atwoki becomes morally bad after being influenced by David (his friend). That is Depravity. (ushawishi).

Vicky also becomes morally bad after-being influenced by her two prostitute friends (Tusiime and Kunihira). She eventually becomes a prostitute like them.


The term irresponsibility simply refers to the situation in which people do not think deeply about the effects of what they do and in most cases it is an act of not showing the feelings of responsibilities.

In the book, Adyeri being a drunkard and unprincipled womanizer falls to take care of his own family as seen on how he even fails to pay school fees for his children, also Sometimes he leaves home without some food or money to his family instead he uses the money to build the house for her concubine Birungi.

On top of that he fails to realize that his children real needed his sincerely love and affection as a result he used to quarrel with them several times with Amoti whenever he comes. David’s father is also irresponsible.

For instance he goes out with his son (David) they enjoy together and pick girls together. As the result they both become HIV/ AIDS Victims.

Irresponsibility is not a good thing particularly to the parents towards their family because it contributes to family disintegration and increases to street children in our society.

Parents should also take into an account that children are what we made in this case if you treat a child badly it is likely that he/she may act in the same manner in the near future hence we should bear in our mind that “as you make your bed so you have to lie on it.”


Tribalism refers to the behavior or attitude that is based on being loyal to a tribe or other social group. In the novel, the element of tribalism is very much seen.

For example, Vicky comes with Akena the man from North Eastern Uganda in Palisia district purposely to introduce him to his uncle (Adyeri) as her expected husband to be instead Akena is rejected to marry Vicky on the ground of tribal lines.

It is also discovered that since Akena is not belonging to Batoro he is Mnyamahanga has no credibility of getting attached to Vicky. Consider Amoti’s conversationI will never consert for my daughter to be married to a mnyamahanga, support they eat people in Palisa what are you going to do?” (pg: 10).

In actual fact tribalism acts as an obstacle in many things as it can bring social, political as well as economical problems. Thus the roots of tribalism should be uprooted in our society so as to bring welfare to the people as well as having sustainable development.


Superstition refers to the situation or belief that particular events happen in a way that cannot be explained by reason or scientific proof.

In the novel, the author shows that people are superstitious due to the ignorance.

For example, Alinganyira takes Vicky to a witch doctor’s place, Alinganyira is heard saying to Vicky “The man is very powerful, he has very powerful juju.

His charm made people rich” (pg: 37).

In our society the belief of superstition causes serious danger as many people engage themselves in it as a result of different factors including social, political economical as well as cultural matters.

Equally important, there are some people who get children and wealth by fulfilling the conditions such as sleeping naked at the grave yard, killing their relatives, also politicians tend to kill Albinos with the belief of winning elections.

We should get away from superstatitious tendency since it is of any benefit.


A conflict refers to the collision of interest in a struggle of one part to gain supreme over the others.

In short conflict means misunderstanding between two or more opposing sides. Conflict may arise if different groups in a society have conflicting ideas, interests, beliefs, opinions and values.

In the book, the author has shown the following types of conflicts;

Family conflict: Family conflict is the type of conflict that occurs within the family that is to say the conflict that involves the family members only.

For example there is a serious conflict between Adyeri and her wife (Amoti) caused by Adyeri’s brutality towards the child (Atwoki). Amoti is not pleased with this act.

Personal conflict: This is the type of conflict that occurs within a person.

For example in this novel the author shows that Vicky had personal conflict concerning the question of going to the witch doctor as it was an order from her husband.

Interpersonal Conflict: This is the type of conflict that occurs between one person or group of people against others.

For example in the book, there is a conflict between Adyeri (Vicky’s uncle) against Akena (Vicky’s boyfriend) this conflict is caused by Adyeri’s decision of demanding the amount of dowry for Vicky which is beyond Akena’s capabilities.

As a result of this Adyeri shout to Vicky “I don’t want that Munyamahanga. He is a foolish fellow. He wants to marry in my house free of charge” (Pg: 11).

Political conflict: In this novel there is an element of political conflict discussed between Tanzania against Uganda roughly during Kagera war.

The source of this conflict is the struggle for area for settlement between these two countries.

This is evidenced in the book when Adyeri’s fellow drunkard mourns him where they are heard discussing the causes of Adyeri’s death as they relate that the disease is said to have been brought from Tanzania. Consider their conversation

You people, you don’t know slim was brought by the Bakombozi soldiers from Tanzania during the Idd Amini’s war that’s where the disease originated” (Pg: 40).


Prostitution refers to the situation where by someone tends to have several sexual partners who are not legally married to him/her. In the novel, for instance, many people die of AIDS pandemic as a result of many factors one of them is prostitution. Most of the characters in the story are prostitutes and or womanizer i.e. Girls tend to sell their bodies to men in order to have money and men with money, use their money to pick girls they want. Adyeri is a womanizer. This is because apart from his wife, he has a lot of women including examples of prostitute girls, that’s why they try to mislead Vicky that, she should find a man to look after her.

For example David tells Atwoki that “it is written in the bible. You have to enjoy fruits of the earth. If you can’t enjoy girls, then I wonder what else you can enjoy in this world.” In the novel the author also uses characters like Vicky, Kunihira, Birungi and Tusiime to represent the theme of prostitution. (Pg: 18). Prostitution is something we should get away with since it is against our cultural norms. In our society especially in big cities like Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Arusha there are special areas (brothel) where prostitutes used to sell their bodies. This act has also a result of HIV spread to many people.


This refers to the behavior in which somebody pretends to have moral standard or opinion that they don’t actually have. This may also happens due to hatred, jealousy and poverty. In the book, the author uses Amoti to represent this theme. This is because Amoti is shown hating Vicky very much to the extent that she puts impossible conditions for her marriage to Akena while pretending to love her (Vicky) by becoming sorry to her.

The elements of hypocricy are evidenced when Amoti says “As for me I don’t agree at all. This is just the way to lose our blood lineage when I think of that stranger, my heart has no peace at all” (Pg: 10). Hypocrisy is also practiced in our society because there are some people who are indeed hypocrite and thus causes obstacles in many aspects. For instance, many political/politicians seem to be very much considerate towards citizens (electorates) problems during the campaigns once the election is over they are rarely seen in their constituencies.


Drunkardness simply refers to the act of drinking too much alcohol regularly to the point that it becomes impossible to think or speak clearly. In the book many characters have been portrayed to be much drinker. Good example is Adyeri since he is shown to be concerned with drinking tendency to the extent of coming back home staggering worse still his trousers are wet and dirty with a lot of mud on his clothes to indicate that he had slipped and fallen on the wet ground several times. Alcoholism has been taking place in our society where by leading to family disintegration and so it acts as a source of HIV/AIDS because someone who is excessively drunkard can sleep with anyone without taking any preventive measure against the disease. We should get out of it if we really want to build the better future of tomorrow.


Ignorance refers to the situation in which people are unaware of the virtual/vital information within their society. It is also a state of lacking knowledge or information about something. In the novel, David is portrayed to be ignorant on HIV spread because he just judge Eddah basing on her physical appearance also the villagers particularly the drunkards are ignorant of the disease for example in the book it is shown that there is one drunkard who is quite aware that Atwoki is HIV/AIDS positive the other characters do not as they are heard saying that Atwoki can’t get the disease because he is an international footballer.

Consider this conversation “The boy can’t acquire the disease. He is an international footballer. He is educated he knows how to do things in the right way”. Also the author shows that people don’t tell the truth about AIDS since they are not aware of the disease. Vicky’s husband decides to visit the witch doctor believing to be given a charm to get a child. Similarly, Amoti associates his husband’s sickness to witchcraft she thinks that his husband has been bi witched by Birungi. Also the victims of slim are taken to witchdoctor. Ignorance acts as a stumbling block to the development of economic and social affairs we should attack it with all our efforts to experience our sustainable development.


This refers to the expression, opposition to something. It is also the sign of dissatisfaction which can either be active or passive. In the novel, the author has clearly shown that characters are protesting for example, Amoti protest against excessive drinking behavior of her husband Adyeri to the extent of being an irresponsible father. Abooki is in protest to John for his decision of sleeping with her without her concern. Atwoki is protesting to his father due to his mistreatment and cruelty to them to such extent that he (Adyeri) used to beat him.

The act of protest is really taking place in our society where many people tend to protest against government on poor social services they receive such as poor system of education, poor health facilities. Equally important workers from different companies have been protesting against their employers when it comes to the issues concerning high salaries and good working conditions. There is a need of ensuring that things are placed in order to our people especially those leaders who entrusted power to bring peace and harmony.


The term position of women simply refers to the role played by a woman in the society. In the novel, women have been portrayed differently as they played both positively and negatively as follows;

  • Woman as a responsible mother. To this the author has shown that Amoti is a responsible mother since being the mother of two children (Abooki and atwoki) she is seen being concerned with the wellbeby taking care of her children contrary to his drunkard husband Adyeri who used to beat them severely.
  • Woman as a sympathetic person: In the book, the author has shown that woman is a sympathetic person by being concerned with the problems of others. To this the author portrays one old woman who visits to Amoti in order to convince her (Amoti) to be concerned to the problems of his husband. As she says “Amoti my daughter have a mercy on your husband. The man is dying in his house. There is no body to attend him. Please don’t let him die like that. Let the children go and console him. No matter what happened in the past, he remains your husband”.
  • Women as good advisor: Women have been portrayed by the author as good advisor. This is evidenced in the novel when Vicky advises Abooki when the later (Abooki) visited Vicky in Kasese when she (Vicky) was sick. In their discussion Vicky advises her not to be very much concerned and interested with money she even went far by telling her that it is better to be married with a beggar as she is heard saying… “My dear sister, I wish to counsel you on one thing. Don’t go after money you better get married to a beggar provided that you love each other.” (Pg: 42).
  • Women as jealous: A woman has also portrayed to be jealous. In this book it is clearly evidenced that Amoti is a jealous to Vicky because she puts impossible conditions to her marriage with Akena. Consider what Amoti saying to Adyeri when the two (Adyeri and Amoti) are discussing on matters concerning Vicky’s marriage to akena “I will never concert for my daughter to be married to Mnyamahanga suppose they eat people in Pallisa what you are going to do” Pg: 40.
  • Women as a tool for entertainment: The author has also portrayed that a woman negatively as a tool for entertaining men. To this he uses characters like Kunihira, Tusiime and Vicky who have been engaging in themselves in prostitution as the way to fulfill men’s sexual desires. To authenticate this argument consider the way Tusiime argues to Vicky “As for me I shall sleep with any man to make money. Life is not easy. There is no shortcut. Beauty can make your life different. Think of it Vicky put your love for sale and forget about your uncle”. (Pg: 18).
  • Woman as a betrayer: Woman has been portrayed by the author as a betrayer. The author evidences this citing Birungi as an example. Birungi was formally Adyeri’s concubine especially when Adyeri’s economic stability was good (when he was the headmaster at St. Leos High school. But as Birungi learns that Adyeri is bank rupt she chases him out of the house built by him (Adyeri) as if she is chasing a dog. Consider the following quotation “You poor miserable man. You adulterer. Now you have killed yourself and will surely kill me too. What have you come to do here?… Go back to your wife, leave me alone when my turn comes…, you see now what has come out of your womanization. I regret to have met you Go away! Go away! (Pg: 25).


This is an act of misleading other people by trying to make them believe something which is not true. In the story Tusiime and Kunihira achieve to mislead Vicky by trying to advice her that she should find a man to take care of her. Abooki is also deceived by John to visit him as the result John breaks her Virginity Atwoki is also deceived by David that Edda is safe of HIV , something which is not true. As the result Atwoki gets HIV /AIDS.


Adyeri’s family seems to be poor and Adyeri is the source of poverty because he is irresponsible. For instance he was the headmaster but because of his irresponsiveness he is fired from job and he eventually becomes jobless. In chapter one Adyeri beats his son Atwoki for making his food to fall down. This is as the result of poverty. Poverty is also revealed in chapter two. Adyeri demands a bride price in advance. For instance he wants to be paid 15 heads of cattle by Akena. Akena (Vicky’s suitor) is also poor. He is capable of paying only two cows. This makes Vicky to sell her body to men especially those who have money because her marriage is unsuccessful. In the end Abooki is left alone to take care of her mother without money. As the result she falls in the trap of John and John breaks her virginity. This is also associated with poverty.


This refers to failure to fulfill something good or interesting as was hoped by someone else. In the novel Adyeri and his wife (Amoti) disappoint Vicky and her suitor (Akena). In chapter two we see Vicky introducing her suitor to her uncle and aunt. She believes that she will marry him but unfortunately her aunt (Amoti) rejects such a marriage just because Akena is of another tribe. Adyeri also makes such a marriage unsuccessful because of restrictions from Vicky’s uncle and aunt. Disappointment takes place because Vicky and Akena expected something good (marriage) but Adyeri and Amoti fail to fulfill something good (marriage) as was hoped/expected by Vicky and Akena.


This is the condition whereby a character shows lack of loyalty. In the story this is revealed by Atwoki. He was a good person at first but after visiting Kampala, he betrays his mother and his sister (Abooki). He cut off financial support to them. We also see John betraying Abooki i.e. he acts as Abooki’s friend but later on he rapes her and breaks her virginity. Adyeri also shows lack of loyalty for instance in Chapter 1 we see him  going to sleep with another woman, leaving his wife and family alone.


The following language and figure of speech have been used from this novel;


Setting refers to the place where a certain literary work was taken. The setting of passed like a shadow is in western Uganda. The choice of this place emanates from the fact those societies who lived in Uganda by then have been affected with the disease (HIV/AIDS). Thus the author’s intention to choose the area aimed to reduce the spread of the disease.

Language Used

Generally speaking, the language used in this novel is very simple and straight forward. But the author has made use of some figurative languages like imagery, symbols, simile and others as listed below;

 Simile. This refers to the figure of speech in which two things are compared using conjunctions such as, as…as, like…like. In this book the author has made use of simile as follows;

She walked towards him as fearless as a lioness.

He was as humble as a dove.

His face was as him as a child.

She was as hard working as a donkey.

Sayings: This refers to the figure of speech which has two parts with wise saying normally intending to advice or to teach. In this novel, Kunihira is heard talking to Vicky that “But don’t worry Vicky men are like buses you miss one today another comes tomorrow” Pg: 3. This quotation has been used in order to comfort/relief following her uncle’s refusal to accept the bride price paid by Akena.

Imagery: The term imagery refers to the creation of of mental picture in the mind of the readers. In this book, there are various types of imageries one of them is visual imagery as follows;

The man was very drunk his trousers were wet and dirty there was a lot of mud on his clothes to indicate that he has slipped and fallen on the wet ground several times over before he could reaches home Pg: 1.

The above quotation tends to create mental picture to the readers on how much adyeri was drunkard. But also the author intends to bring a coming effect in the novel for the sake of attracting the audience.

 Symbols: Symbolism refers to the figure of speech in which the entire work of art is used to refer to other different situations. In the book the author has used different symbols as follows;

A frightened pussy cat to mean Pussycat mean helpless person.

I regret to have married a pig to mean Unsuccessful man or good for nothing.

Tyrannical regime to mean a house with aggressive treatment.

A big fish to mean a rich man.

Slim to mean HIV/AIDS.



He is the main character in the story.

He is the father of Atwoki and Abooki.

He represents irresponsible people found in our societies. For instance, when he was the headmaster of St. Leo’s Secondary School, he was a good drunker and a womanizer as the result he was fired from job.

He is also irresponsible at home because he fails to provide his family’s basic needs. He is oppressive i.e. he usually beats his children and his wife at home. Because of being a womanizer, he becomes a Victim of HIV/AIDS.

He is not loyal i.e. he sometimes sleep with his other women like Birungi from Burungu. In the end he dies of HIV/AIDS


She is Adyeri’s wife. The mother of Abooki and Atwoki.

She plays the what we call roles of women i.e. she tries to take care of the family despite her husband’s irresponsiveness.

She is ignorant, for instance, she rejects marriage between Vicky and Akena just because Akena is of another tribe. Later on she divorces her husband.

She is also a victim of HIV/ AIDS i.e. she is infected by her husband.


She is Adyeri’s daughter. She is the only lucky person in Adyeri’s family.

She is very intelligent, conscious and hard working.

She later care of her mother and brother after they have become HIV Victims. In the end we see John deceiving her and he eventually break her virginity fortunately she is not affected by HIV/ AIDS despite being raped by John.


He is Adyeri’s son.

He later on becomes the best footballer for instance he is referred to as the Fort Portal bullet.

He was rewarded some money and a car and he uses the money to build a house for his mother after his mother’s decision to divorce Adyeri.

He later on turns into morally bad and becomes a victim of HIV/ AIDS


He is Atwoki’s best friend, living in Kampala.

His father is very rich but he fails to take care of him.

David misleads Atwoki as the result Atwoki becomes a womanizer like him.

He eventually becomes HIV/AIDS Victim.


She is Adyeri’s concubine.

She was also Adyeri’s secretary at St. Leo’s Secondary School.

She is a prostitute and ignorant of HIV/ AIDS.’


She represents prostitute girls in Kampala.

She is the first girl of Atwoki and eventually she infects him HIV /AIDS

Tusiime and Kunihira

These represent prostitute girls.

They depend on selling their bodies to men.

They achieve to mislead Vicky; they encourage her to find a man to take care of her.  For example Tusiime says “As for me, I shall sleep with any man to make money.” This shows how prostitute she is.

Uncle Araali

He is Adyeri’s brother.

He represents loyal people found in our societies.

He supports Adyeri’s family ideologically and morally.

In the end he welcomes Atwoki when he starts suffering from HIV/ AIDS. For instance at the climax of the novel he says to Atwoki “My son… My dear son… Welcome home. East or West, home is best”


She is Atwoki’s cousin. Adyeri’s niece.

She is badly treated by his uncle.

She is an Orphan, her parents have passed away, when she gets a suitor (Akena) her uncle and aunt rejects marriage between them after failing to pay the bride price and secondly he is a man from north in fact from another tribe.

She is therefore disappointed.

She faces life hardship as the result she decides to engage in prostitution after being influenced by her friends i.e. Tusiime and Kunihira.


He is Vicky’s husband, he is rich but ignorant i.e. he takes Vicky to the witchdoctor so that Vicky can get a baby.

Vicky seems to be barren maybe due to prostitution.

Therefore she believes in superstition.


He is a boy from a rich family.

He is hypocrite i.e. he pretends to help Abooki and as the result he rapes her after giving her a contaminated drink which makes her lose consciousness.

He therefore breaks her virginity.


He is the HIV/AIDS counselor at the Virika Hospital

he is the one who takes Abooki’s blood and pregnancy test.

He advices Abooki to be careful with boys.

He for instance says “We must change our behaviours for the better” he also tells Abooki that “The only hundred percent protection guarantee from acquiring the virus is abstinence for unmarried people and mutual love and loyalty among married couples.”

He eventually falls in love with Abooki and so it is Abooki and it marked the beginning of an honorable relationship though he is aware that Abooki is no longer virgin.

He is responsible as he represents people who play their role as effectively as possible.


This is a lesson we get after reading a work of art. Normally message has to be in a statement form. The book “Passed like a Shadow “has the following messages:

Good moral character is vital for an individual development/achievement. The author shows this taking Abooki as an example as she lives healthy because of her good moral characters rooted to her.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. This is because we see Abooki faces a problem from John who trickily trap her after having pretended to support her while in reality he (John) has negative plans to her. In this case the author tries to warn the new generations especially boys and girls to be keen in choosing the right friends.

Strong decision places/makes one to be free from being self alienation. In this case, we should be able to decide on issues that affect our psychological. This is testified to Abooki who decides to test her bloody to be sure on whether she is health enough.

The harder you work the better achievement you get. This is evidenced on the way Atwoki who is born from poor family but due to his hard working finally he becomes a very respected and famous boy in Kampala.

One decision can makes (result) to poor performance in our daily life we should create a sense of thinking before performing any given task

Prostitution is very dangerous in the society.

Inherited character are stronger than environmental character. This is evidenced on the way atwoki imitating the promiscuous behavior of his father (Adyeri) as he then involve in sexual behavior with girls whom finally infects him the disease.

Involving in peer pressure among youths may results into problems. Example is cited to Atwoki who up to the age of 21 years old has never slept with any girl but following the pressure from David he then agrees to sleep with Edda who then infects him the dangerous disease

Jealous is bad because it may results into conflict and misunderstanding among the societies. This is seen on the way Vicky is not friendly (grown) to her aunt (Amoti) because of jealousy she demonstrates on her marriage to Akena.

Personal weaknesses if not well controlled may result into failure. The author shows on how Adyeri’s life becomes terrible following with his weaknesses of involving in taking too much alcohol and promiscuous behavior of running with many women.

Beating children and wives is not the proper way of solving problems as it results and accelerates into conflict. The author shows this citing an example to Adyeri who loses love and affection to both her wife and his children due to his dictatorial tendency of beating his children and wife.

There is a difference between someone being educated as opposed to an ethical person. The author has shown that despite the fact that Adyeri being the headmaster at a prestigious high school still he behaves quite different from the reality.

HIV/ AIDS is an avoidable disease. This is because of avoidable factors like ignorance, irresponsiveness, influences and deceit. If people have knowledge about HIV/ AIDS, they can avoid it. For instance Vicky gets HIV/ AIDS because of irresponsiveness; Atwoki gets HIV /AIDS because of influence and deceit from David. Therefore all these are avoidable factors.


The work of the art in the novel “Passed like A Shadow “has many and a lot of things which are relevant to our Tanzania society. It reveals the outcomes of HIV since it the problem of the world Also it criticizes prostitution, Ignorance, superstition etc whereby on other way round it entertains the society by deferent songs in the book.

Also, there are many cases that result as a result of family conflict due to husbands and wives involving in marital relation with other people who are not legally married to them.

There is moral decay especially to educated people as they assume negatively to the society. Example, graduates and students in different schools and colleges do not appear morally before masses as some are seen using drug abuse, smoking marijuana, selling their bodies. Equally important many bosses in many offices use their entrusted power to intimidate (harass) their co-workers more especially female genders.

The story is relevant to the developing countries whereby HIV /AIDS attacks people because of the revealed factors in the story i.e. ignorance, poverty influence, deceit and irresponsiveness.


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