Book 1, Chapter 7 Notes from Cry, The Beloved Country

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Cry, The Beloved Country Book 1, Chapter 7

Gertrude has saved no money, though it is rumored that people in her profession are rich. Stephen buys her and her son some new clothes, because he is embarrassed by the way they look. He is writing to his wife about his adventures so far when Msimangu comes up the walk. They go to visit Stephen's brother John. He has many friends in his office, he has grown fat, and he does not recognize Stephen. He tells him that his wife left him ten years ago, and he lives with another woman now. He has not written because things are so different in Johannesburg that they are difficult to explain to someone living in Ndotsheni. In Johannesburg, he has made something of himself. He is not subject to an ignorant chief here. Johannesburg, he says, is the future. There is something happening here that is stronger than the tribe or the church. He says that the natives, who hold the entire South African economy together by working in the mines, are demanding fair pay for their work. Stephen is overpowered by his brother's great speech, but Msimangu is skeptical. He wonders whether John's wife left him because he cheated on her. John begins to get angry, but Stephen cuts off the fight when their tea is brought in. Stephen asks about his son Absalom, and John seems to be uncomfortable. He tells him that since his own son, Matthew, did not like his "second mother" and her children, so he left home, and Absalom went with them. John does not know exactly where they went, but he gives Kumalo an address of a factory where they were working in Alexandra. Once Msimangu and Stephen leave, Msimangu tells Stephen that though much of what John said was true, John has been corrupted by his wealth and power. He is not really willing to sacrifice himself for justice, even though he could do much good, since he is such a great speaker. Msimangu says it is difficult to avoid being corrupted by power, unless you are full of love. Then, you have power because you are not seeking power. He believes that love is the only thing that will save South Africa from its racial struggles. He tells Stephen, "I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find that we are turned to hating." Chapter 7, pg. 40

They find the factory in Alexandra, but Absalom has left a year before. A worker there who was friendly with him tells them that he heard Absalom was living in a house in Sophiatown. When they get there, a kind woman tells them that Absalom no longer lives there. She searches for a letter from him, and as Kumalo is playing with her children, Msimangu notices that she looks at Kumalo with pity. He asks her about this privately, and she tells him that she sees he is a priest, and she had to kick his son out of her home because she did not like his friends. The letter's return address is in Alexandra, so the two pastors set out for that place. Kumalo tells his friend that, although his journey is not a happy one, he enjoys being with him.

Topic Tracking: Redemption 4

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