What are the important parts in Chapters 7 and 8 of Cry, the Beloved Country?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 7, Stephen Kumalo meets with his brother John, who has established himself as an important man in the city of Johannesburg.  The important part of this Chapter is what John tells Stephen about life in Johannesburg, and Msimangu's interpretation of what he says.  John Kumalo tells Stephen that the tribal society is "breaking apart", and that a new society is being built in Johannesburg, based on gold, which is being mined with the labor of the tribal people.  The black workers are being terribly exploited, and John is a spokesman for a revolutionary movement defending their rights.  Though Stephen Kumalo is a man of the cloth, John feels the Church is out of touch with people's plight in Africa, and has adopted the morals of the secular society.  Msimangu later tells Stephen that, sadly, much of what John says is true.  He describes the power struggle between blacks and whites in Africa, and laments the corrupting aspect of the power for which both groups strive.  He believes that the only hope for their country 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" (Chapter 7).

In Chapter 8, Stephen Kumalo and Msimangu continue their search for Kumalo's son Absalom.  The important part of this Chapter is the bus boycott, which the two men become involved in when they find they must journey to Alexandra.  The boycott is organized by leaders such as Dubalo and Tomlinson, and is effective as thousands of blacks each day walk rather than pay the unreasonable fees to ride the bus.  Many white people are sympathetic and stop to give the old and the crippled rides, but the authorities are trying to stop this, threatening to take the white supporters to court (Chapter 8).

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