Cry, the beloved country
Reverend Stephen Kumalo (also called umfundsi) lives in Ndotsheni, South Africa. One day he receives a letter from a man called Theophilus Msimangu, a reverend in The Mission House in Johannesburg. The letter says that Stephen's sister, Gertrude Kumalo, is very ill and Theophilus asks him to come to Johannesburg to visit Gertrude. Stephen goes as soon as possible. He leaves his church and his wife and goes to Johannesburg by train. When he arrives at the Mission House, he's welcomed by Theophilus. They visit Gertrude. She only has to rest a few days, but she's glad that Steven has come. Theophilus tells him about the bad situation in Johannesburg. There are a lot of differences of opinions between the black and the white people. Sometimes they kill each other. It's the apartheid.
While Steven is in Johannesburg, he sees his brother John again. He hasn't seen him for al least twenty years. He has become an important black politician and also has his own shop. They talk a lot together. One day there is an article in the newspaper:
'Murder in Parkworld. Well-known city engineer shot dead. Attacker's thought to be natives'
There has been another murder. Steven's son and John's son committed it. Steven's son says they only wanted to steel something and that he shot the man to defend himself. There will be a trial.
Mister Jarvis is working at his farm in Ndotsheni. As usual the police-car from Ixopoo was going to his house. A few minutes later it went up to him in the field. The cops say that is his son was shot in Johannesburg. Mister Jarvis goes to Johannesburg right away. He meets John Harrison there, the brother of his dead son's wife. They talk about Jarvis' son a lot. He was a writer. He wrote a lot about the bad situation South Africa was in at this moment. Mister Jarvis reeds his son's books a lot. After the funeral mister Jarvis stays for a while at John's place. They are afraid. They think they're not safe. Jarvis finished with his son's last book. It says: 'I shall devote myself to the service of South Africa'. Jarvis decides to do the same. Steven's son is being prosecuted. There's a trial. The judge pleads him guilty. After court, Steven and mister Jarvis talk to each other. They are not angry with each other. After a few days there was another murder:
'Another murder tragedy in city. European shot dead by native housebreaker', as the papers say.
They were shocked. It was a hard thing that this should happen at this moment. When Steven's going home, he shall take Gertrude and his son's future wife with him. She is now his daughter. Steven's afraid because his brother's politics are too dangerous. He always let the black people make a riot. The black people are angry with the white people because the are getting exploited. Steven's afraid his brother also gets murdered. His brother disagrees and they go apart angry. At the day of Steven's department, Gertrude is gone. She isn't coming to Ndotsheni.
When Steven is back in Ndotsheni, everybody is glad to seen him again. The people accept his son's future wife. They all feel sorry for her. The land is very dry. There's no milk and almost no water. The grass isn't green, but yellow. The river has been dry for months. The people cry for rain. Steven begins to pray a lot in his church for the restoration of Ndotsheni. But he knew that that was not enough. The people must come together and do something. There comes a message from mister Jarvis. He gives Steven milk for the children. He wants to help Ndotsheni, like his son wanted to help South Africa. There also came a letter from Johannesburg. Steven's son was to be hanged on the fifteenth day of that month. There is rain. Jarvis is building a dam for the people from the village. He also helps the people to learn farming. He does a lot for the village, just like his son wanted to do for South Africa. The valley of Ndotsheni is becoming green again. There is more rain and Jarvis helps a lot. But, unfortunately, Jarvis' wife dies suddenly. Steven wrote Jarvis a letter. It says that he will pray for her every day in the church. There comes an answer. It says that Jarvis is thankful for the prayers and that the things he did for Ndotsheni were in memory of his beloved son. Jarvis wants to build a new church. The people work hard for Ndotsheni. They learn how to farm. They can be proud of their 'new' valley.
On the fourteenth day, Steven goes up to the mountain. He always goes up to the mountain when something important happens. On his way up, he meets mister Jarvis. He says he will leave Ndotsheni. Jarvis shall keep helping the village. He says: 'One thing is about to get settled, but here is something that is only begun'. The trial is over, and the restoration of Ndotsheni has begun. On top of the mountain, Steven is praying. He prays for his son and for Ndotsheni. He thanks the people from the Mission House and mister Jarvis. When the sun rises the next day, he shouts: 'My son, my son, my son…'
The perspective is with Steven Kumalo, the main character in the book.
The main character is Steven Kumalo. He's a reverend in Ndotsheni, a village in the hills of South Africa. When he gets a letter from a colleague reverend, he goes to Johannesburg, to see his very sick sister Gertrude. He also meets his brother John, who he hasn't seen for years, again. In Johannesburg he sees the bad situation of the country, the black labor-people don't take the work-pressure anymore. A lot of white people get murdered and his brother John, a black politician, is doing dangerous thins when he causes a riot when he speaks to his black 'brothers' in public not to take the pressure from the white people anymore. The other characters are Mr. Jarvis, Steven's wife, Steven's brother John, Steven's son Absalom, Steven's sister Gertrude and reverend Theophilus Msimangu.
The book has 102 pages. The told time is about five weeks.
The story takes place in South Africa, mostly in Johannesburg and in Ndotsheni.
The book isn't too much exiting, but it also isn't totally boring because there are a few murders in the book and that makes it more exciting.
Theme and motives
The theme is that a bad thing, something like a murder, can be the beginning of a good thing. In this book the murder of Mr. Jarvis' son is the beginning of the restoration of Ndotsheni, witch was a very poor and dry village. The books of Jarvis' son about fighting for South Africa, made Jarvis, a rich white farmer, help rebuild Ndotsheni, the hometown of Steven Kumalo, who is the father of the murderer of Jarvis' son.
Explanation of the title
The title 'Cry, the beloved country' means that the people of South Africa should cry for the state of their country. The country is dry and there are a lot of fights between the black natives and the white settlers. This is also the case in the murder in the book. A black man committed the murder and the murdered person was a white man. The sub-title 'A story of Comfort in Desolation' can be explained as: the death of Jarvis' son, the desolation, indirect causes comfort, the rebuild of Ndotsheni.
Kind of book
The book is a novel.
I don't like this book. It's not my type of book. The language witch is spoken is also bad, it's too childish, just like you're some guy who never heard of the language English. The story itself isn't interesting at all. I wouldn't advise the book to somebody to reed it.
I didn't expect too much of the book when I rented it at the library because it is a very thin book. It only has 102 pages so I thought it couldn't be too good and I was right.
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