2. What does the kindness that Kumalo receives from Mr. Mafolo, Msimangu, and his fellow priests demonstrate about some of the people in Johannesburg? Why is unity important in a place like Johannesburg?
Answers 1Add Yours
Kumalo is helped and treated with respect by the men he speaks to on the train and by Mr. Mafolo. It would seem, then, that the young man who robs Kumalo is an exception, not the rule. The priests at the mission sit together regardless of color, demonstrating that racial harmony is possible, and they greet Kumalo’s story with friendship and interest. Thus, although Johannesburg, with its chaotic nature, has the potential to destroy individuals and families, as Gertrude’s separation from her child demonstrates, it also has the power to bring people together.
This section shows the complicated relationship between Christianity and white domination. On the one hand, the priests of the mission appear to be the only people both concerned enough and strong enough to heal the city’s wounds. Furthermore, Msimangu appreciates that a white man “brought [his] father out of darkness” by converting him to Christianity, demonstrating that some natives welcome this religion imported from Europe. On the other hand, Christianity is partly responsible for the decimation of the tribal structure in South Africa. With two separate communities whose values differ so greatly—the indigenous South African tribes and the transplanted white colonists—so deeply ingrained in the cultural landscape of South Africa, it seems unlikely that one would wholly suppress the other. Kumalo is caught between these two communities, as evidenced by the fact that he often refers to God as “Tixo,” the Xhosa word for “Great Spirit,” instead of using European words. This apparent synthesis of his Zulu and Christian heritages suggests that Kumalo has managed to find a middle ground between these cultures.