What is Father Vincent's gift to Kumalo in Cry, the Beloved Country?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Father Vincent gives the gifts of friendship, consolation, and hope to Kumalo.  He also secures a good lawyer who will defend Kumalo's son Absalom without pay.

Father Vincent is an English priest at the Mission House in Sophiatown.  He befriends Kumalo, sharing with him details about his own country, with its "hedges and...fields...and the great cathedrals up and down the land" (Chapter 11).  Father Vincent is sympathetic to Kumalo's plight, and tells him if he needs anything, he only has to ask.

At his lowest point, Kumalo remembers Father Vincent's offer, and returns to the Mission House.  He tells the kindly priest of his despair, and Father Vincent responds with words of comfort and encouragement.  Father Vincent exhorts Kumalo to "pray and rest", and reminds him that man cannot always understand ways of God.  He encourages Kumalo to pray "for (his) own rebuilding...for all white people, those who do justice, and those who would do justice if they were not afraid...and...for (his) son, and for his amendment".  For his own part, Father Vincent will pray for Kumalo, "night and day...that...and anything more that (he might) ask" (Chapter 15).

Father Vincent also secures the services of "one of the greatest lawyers in South Africa, and one of the greatest friends of (Kumalo's) people".  This man will take the case of Absalom Kumalo "pro deo", or "for God".  Kumalo has little money, but the lawyer will not ask for any.  Kumalo is amazed, saying "I have never met such kindness" (Chapter 17).

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Cry, the Beloved Country

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