Book 1, Chapter 4 Notes from Cry, The Beloved Country

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Cry, The Beloved Country Book 1, Chapter 4

The journey continues, and Kumalo looks out on a wonderful, destroyed, and frightening landscape. He sees beautiful hills, and dry, lifeless soil, and huge gold mines where many of the poor natives (black South Africans) live. Kumalo is a Zulu who speaks some English, and he cannot pronounce the names of the towns he passes through: they are Afrikaans, whose language he has never heard spoken. He sees bigger and bigger towns, each time thinking they must be Johannesburg, but the other people on the bus laugh at him: Johannesburg is far bigger, they say. When they finally get there, Kumalo is terrified. The city is huge, and the countless neon lights are too much for him to understand. He cannot figure out how to cross the street. A young man asks him if he needs a bus ticket, and Kumalo gives him a pound to get one for him. He waits and waits, but the young man never comes back. Finally, he asks another man where the young man has gone, and the man explains that Kumalo has been cheated. He asks him where he is going, and Kumalo tells him Sophiatown, to see Reverend Msimangu. The man knows Msimangu, and takes him to Msimangu's Mission House. When he meets Msimangu, Kumalo finally drops his false confidence, and admits his confusion and fear. It makes him feel better to do this, and he immediately likes Msimangu. They relax together, deciding to wait a bit before discussing the reason for Kumalo's visit.

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