Bankole is a 57-year-old doctor from San Diego who lost his wife in an attack on his community. His and Lauren’s journeys merge and they soon find commonality in their backgrounds and shared tragedies. Like Lauren’s father, Bankole’s surname is of Yoruban origin and he’s but one year older than Lauren’s father. That Lauren finds Bankole attractive says a lot about the imprint Lauren’s father had on her. Lauren’s relationship with Bankole allows her to indulge in a sense of rare vulnerability. His character serves to challenge hers and ultimately strengthens her commitment to the tenets of Earthseed.

Bankole is shown to be a little vain, paying careful attention to his beard, wearing clothes that “fit him well,” and possessing an “expensive professional haircut.” He joins Lauren’s group, though he intends to find sanctuary on his property in the hills of Humboldt County in Northern California. After he and Lauren make love, Bankole is taken aback at how young she is — 18 years of age at this juncture in the novel — but ends up falling in love with her. He even finds her hyperempathy intriguing and offers to help the negative facets of her condition with medication. As an atheist, Bankole is a lot less accepting of Lauren’s faith, dismissing it as “too simple.” However, he pessimistically tolerates it when Lauren and her disciples establish Earthseed on his land. Bankole doesn’t believe they’ve hit rock bottom yet, but he shows a willingness to work hard to create a better future for all.