Cry, the Beloved Country
Characters: Stephen Kumalo, Stephen’s wife, Gertrude Kumalo, Absalom Kumalo, John Kumalo,
Theophilus Msimangu, Father Vincent, Mrs. Lithebe
Chapter 3
1. In what ways is Stephen Kumalo portrayed as a man with both character strength and flaws
(in other words, a real human being)?
Chapter 4
2. What are Stephen Kumalo’s first impressions of and experiences in Johannesburg?
Chapter 5
3. Father Vincent tells Stephen that “It is not only in your place (the rural reserves) that there is
destruction.” What kind of “destruction” or “sickness” exists in Jo-burg?
4. What has happened to Gertrude since she arrived in the city -- and in what ways does she
embody the “sickness” that exists in Jo-burg?
5. What has happened to John Kumalo since he left Ndosheni for Johannesburg?
6. What does Msimangu see as the true, underlying causes of black crime in Johannesburg – the
reason “why children break the law, and old white people are robbed and beaten” (56)?
Chapter 6
7. What are John Kumalo’s political views? For example, what does he think of the moderate
“Bantu Press”?
8. Stephen Kumalo passes through a range of emotions when confronting his sister. What are
these emotions, and the reasons for them, and which ones win out in the end?
Chapter 7
9. How is John Kumalo (both the person and his views) different from his brother?
How does he view the tribal society of Ndosheni, the world he left behind?
Why is he critical of the Church?
What are his political views?
What are his strengths and limitations as a political leader?
10. What is Msimangu’s one hope – and what is his greatest fear? (71)
11. How do Msimangu’s actions (in addition to his words) reveal the kind of person he is?
Chapter 8
12. What is the reason for the boycott of buses?
13. Why is Mrs. Mkize afraid to talk to Msimangu and Stephen Kumalo when they ask questions
about Absalom. What is she hiding, and why?
14. What/who are some of the examples mentioned in this chapter of white South Africans who
come to the aid of black South Africans in their struggle for a decent life?
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Cry, the Beloved Country Characters: Stephen Kumalo, Stephen`s