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Chapter Thirteen of this amazing book presents us with Kumalo's feelings as he accompanies Msimangu to Ezenzeleni, where the blind are cared for. As he is left by himself to contemplate a beautiful view, Kumalo is overwhelmed by despair as he considers what he has learnt about himself, about the reality of life in Johannesburg and what he has discovered about his son. In a moment full of anguish, he admits that "the tribe was broken, and would be mended no more."
However, as Msimangu preaches on the subject of hope in the face of despair, Kumalo realises that he is actually preaching to him alone, and trying to encourage him to cling on to hope no matter how dark the situation is. Note how Kumalo responds to what he hears:
Yes, he speaks to me, in such quiet and such simple words. We are grateful for the saints, he says, who lift up the heart in the days of our distress. Would we do less? For do we less, there are no saints to lift up any heart. If Christ be Christ he says, true Lord of heaven, true Lord of Men, what is there that we would nto do no matter what our suffering may be?
Thus, at the end of the sermon, Kumalo is able to tell Msimangu that he is "recovered" and has his faith restored, thanks to the words of encouragement he has heard. We have seen his mood sink down to rock bottom and then rise again in the course of one chapter, as hope has been fragmented and then restored.
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