Cry, the Beloved Country

by Alan Paton

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What is Ezenzelini (the town Kumalo and Msimangu visit in Chapter 13 of Cry, The Beloved Country)? I`ve been looking all over for any information about what Ezenzelini is, and what it has to do with blind people but I have had no luck in finding anything. If you have any links that could help me it would be appreciated. Thanks for answering!

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The first mention we have of Ezenzelini in the novel is at the beginning of Chapter 11, when Msimangu, obviously noticing how the journey and quest for his son is weighing down on Kumalo and damaging him, suggests that Kumalo accompanies him on his trip to Ezenzelini:

Now this is Tuesday; the day after tomorrow I must go to Ezenzeleni, which is the place of our blind, to hold a service for them, and to attend to our own people... While I work, you can rest. It is a fine place there; there is a chapel there, and the ground falls away from one´s feet to the valley below. It will lift your spirits to see what the white people are doing for our blind. Then we can return strengthened for what is still before us.

So Ezenzelini is a mission post where white S. Africans care for black blind S. Africans. After the injustice and division that Kumalo has been exposed to, seeing such a picture of unity would help Kumalo see that the desparation and inequality in the city is not the only characteristic of this racially divided S. Africa, Msimangu thinks.

Note what role this visit plays in Kumalo´s development as a character. He goes to Ezenzelini literally weighed down by news of his grandson born out of wedlock, the crime of his son and above all the murder he has committed threaten to overwhelm him, however, through the beauty of God´s creation and above all the preaching of Msimangu, Kumalo finds strength to carry on fighting and allows him to see how the tribe may be rebuilt.

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