The novel Cry the Beloved Country was a prophecy for the future of South Africa. It alludes to and sometimes even blatantly states the conditions necessary for the end of apartheid and the beginning of peace. South Africa in the 1940’s was in trouble. Kumalo, a priest, was able to see through the prejudices of the world and assess the situation. When inconvenient to involve Kumalo in the investigation, the depth of South Africa’s disparity was illustrated directly through the stories of horrifying happenings in character’s conversations. Finally, we see that Msimangu was Paton’s voice in the novel. When certain conditions were met Msimangu [and Paton] theorized that peace would finally be plausible in South Africa. As the reader begins to observe the problems, so to will they begin to realize the solutions, and such is the goal of this prophetic novel.
Kumalo’s constant questing helped to reveal the conditions that plagued South Africa. His particular naivete and trust in mankind was shattered as he was robbed upon first arriving in Johannesburg. We also see that, because of his strong commitment to being a priest, he was not afraid to “dig deep” and talk people into going in directions they didn’t want to go. When he was talking to his brother when he first met him in Johannesburg, he continued to reproach him about the customs of Johannesburg, which consequently were revealed neatly. For instance, after asking a few questions, Kumalo requested to know how Johannesburg could be so radically different that it’s existence should nullify all the customs of their people. John’s response laid out the freedom and slavery being presented by the white man. On one hand, the people of Ndotsheni “are nobody”, but when mov…
…eriences of Johannesburg, with a few exceptions. These are the ones who break the customs because they do not believe in them: The man who helped Msimangu and Kumalo when they were walking without a bus, Jarvis and his about face, and the young boy who talked so interestedly with Kumalo. These exceptions are highlighted by Msimangu’s words and represent the hope of South Africa.
South Africa’s fate under the hammer of segregation was uncertain as of the writing of Cry the Beloved Country, and yet Alon Paton was still sure change would come. Kumalo witnessed the disparity of the people and objectively presented these facts to the reader. Stories present in conversation brought up directly issues that would otherwise be difficult to come about in normal conversation. Paton expressed his views and solutions to the problems through the character Msimangu.