Cry, the Beloved Country

What does Stephen learn abOUT Absalom in Chapter 10 that has to do with the reformatery?

and what is the social/political context/

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Kumalo and Msimangu thus visit the reformatory, where a white man tells them that Absalom was given leave partially because of good behavior, partially because he got a girl pregnant. Absalom is not married, but everything is arranged for a marriage. He is now in Pimville. Shanty Town is among the worst of the areas, an impoverished region where the homeless remain, yet Paton steps back from the political critique that marked the previous chapter and focuses on the few improvements in Shanty Town. Instead of dwelling on the poverty of the region, Paton details the new training of black nurses and the enrollment of blacks in European medical schools and also lauds Dubula for effecting the construction of a new building in the region.

The white worker at the reformatory is a more significant character in the novel than his lack of a name might imply. He is representative of the white characters that Kumalo meets on his journeys through Johannesburg; kind, helpful and respectful toward Kumalo, and even approaching courage at a later point in the novel. This is important because it demonstrates Paton's biased view of South Africa; he details the poverty and the problems of the nation, but virtually ignores the racism that is one of the causes of these problems.