Stephen Kumalo journeys to Johannesburg in search of his son who has made big trouble for himself in the city. Stephen Kumalo makes the long journey to Johannesburg to help his sick sister Gertrude. He intends to search, while he is there, for his son Absalom who made the same journey to assist Gertrude but never returned. Upon finding Gertrude, Stephen is dismayed to learn that she has become a prostitute and liquor vendor. He convinces her to return to the village and a respectable life. He then begins the search for Absalom who has been arrested on charges of the murder of Kumalo's neighbor's son, Arthur. Absalom is also expecting a child with a young woman in the city to whom he is not married. Stephen communicates the bad news of Arthur's death to his neighbor James. James learns about Arthur's political work on behalf of oppressed minorities in South Africa and takes up the work as his own. Absalom is to be executed, but first he is able to marry the girl who is carrying his child so that she will be cared for by his father's family. Before returning to his village with his new daughter-in-law and sister, Gertrude runs off in the night. Upon returning to his village Kumalo works with Jarvis to better the quality of life of his people through initiatives like dam-building. Absalom is finally executed and the two men mourn the deaths of their sons.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Best part of story, including ending:
Absalom's doom seems certain from the outset. The rest of the story just watched it play out. Difficult to read.
Best scene in story:
I enjoyed Joseph seeing the wonders of the city for the first time in his life. It's what inspired him to build dams and stuff back in the village.
Opinion about the main character:
I admired his resilience despite his helplessness.