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What does Msimangu believe is the only hope for South Africa in Cry, the Beloved...

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emmabo | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 27, 2009 at 5:43 AM via web

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What does Msimangu believe is the only hope for South Africa in Cry, the Beloved Country?

To whom was he referring?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 27, 2009 at 6:45 AM (Answer #1)

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Msimangu believes that the only hope for South Africa lies in the power of love.  He says,

"...there is only one thing that has power completely, and that is love.  Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power.  I see only one hope for our country, and that is when white men and black men, desiring neither power nor money, but desiring only the good of their country, come together to work for it".

Msimangu is telling Kumalo about the social reality in South Africa as the battle against apartheid rages.  He speaks specifically about activists like Kumalo's brother John, who are working to improve the lot of the black population, but who are themselves being corrupted by the very power they seek.  Although the principles behind these brave men's fight are honorable and true, human nature dictates that when they make progress, the power they achieve goes to their heads.  Msimangu explains,

"Because the white man has power, we too want power...but when a black man gets power, when he gets money, he is a great man if he is not corrupted...he seeks power and money to put right what is wrong, and when he gets them, why, he enjoys the power and the money".

Because of this, Msimangu stresses that the only hope for South Africa is love, a love which transcends self-interest and greed.  He is pessimistic, though, that this will ever come to pass; Msimangu fears that "one day when they are (finally) turned to loving, they will find we (the people) are turned to hating" (Chapter 7).

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