Cry, the Beloved Country Characters

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Stephen Kumalo

Stephen Kumalo is the protagonist of the novel, a sixty-year-old black village priest who goes on a physical and emotional journey to Johannesburg to find his son. He is fairly humorless, but kind and dignified within his limited sphere of influence. More than having a specific personality, Kumalo is an archetype of the passive and dutiful black man who quietly accepts his subservience to whites. He is a symbol of a bygone era, when black tribes in South Africa formed communities that lasted for generations in pastoral calm. As South Africa modernizes through the gold industry, Kumalo is left behind, losing much of his family and community to violent urban life.

Kumalo is also old-fashioned in his reliance on God and his faith to get him through troubling times. He does little to question or push back against the status quo. Yet despite his passive exterior, Kumalo...

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This section contains 2,132 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Cry, the Beloved Country Study Guide
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