In Cry, the Beloved Country, how is inequality and social justice combined in South African society?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is an interesting question to consider, because in some ways the novel seems to offer little hope for social justice compared to the many different examples that we are given of racial inequality in the novel. The one example that is positive and seems to present us with a beacon of hope set against the dark night of the rest of the novel is in Chapter 13, when Kumalo and Msimangu visit Ezenzeleni which is a shelter and a refuge for the blind. Kumalo is amazed at the way that black and whites work together with perfect equality to serve blind people. There is a massive contrast between this beacon of hope and the many, many different examples of inequality and fear that dominate South African society as a whole. Consider this very pertinent quote from Misimangu:

I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find that we are turned to hating.

This comments upon the way in which the major aspect of the relationship between whites and blacks is fear from the whites. Misimangu comments upon his doubts of social justice ever being achieved because of this fear, and the way that the fear is causing whites to act in ways that will make the blacks hate them.

 

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