Cry, The Beloved Country Book 1, Chapter 10
Kumalo waits for Msimangu to take him to Shanty Town, and plays with his sister's son. Gertrude is respectful to him, but they are not close. She talks with Mrs. Lithebe about women's concerns, mostly. But sometimes Kumalo tells stories of his village, and the boy and Gertrude listen happily, because they can tell how much he loves it. They all feel better, in this destroyed place, to hear about well-loved places, no matter how near destruction they are. "Now God be thanked that the name of a hill is such music, that the name of a river can heal,"Chapter 10, pg. 62 they think.
Msimangu takes him to Shanty Town. The people there still talk about ordinary things, even though they are clearly living in an unlivable place. They meet someone who knew Absalom, and she tells them he stayed at a certain house. The woman at that house tells them that Absalom was sent to a Reformatory. Kumalo is horrified, but Msimangu tells him that he should not give up hope: he has heard good things about the place, and they may have been able to help Absalom. And when they get there, a young pleasant-faced man speaking Zulu tells Kumalo that his son was successful at the reformatory (though he told them he had no family), and they released him a month ago. This was partly because he had gotten a girl pregnant, and they seemed to want to get married. The man asks them to wait a while, then takes them to Pimville where Absalom and the girl are living. But the girl tells them that Absalom left four days ago, and she has no idea where he is. She clearly does not expect anything from anyone, and this angers the young man and Msimangu, and makes Kumalo sad. He tries to speak to the girl, but the others tell him that she is hopeless-she will find another man who will probably use her and leave her again, and there are many, many women like her. They leave, and the young man tells them he will search for Absalom. Msimangu apologizes for speaking so harshly to the girl, and Kumalo understands-but asks to be taken to see her again.