Cry, the Beloved Country

by Alan Paton

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How is Ndotsheni described in Cry, the Beloved Country?

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Ndotsheni is a small, remote village, one of many such villages in South Africa where the vast majority of the country's black population lives. Paton describes it as a beautiful village, a place surrounded by lush green hills and valleys. As well as extraordinary natural beauty, Ndotsheni also benefits from a strong sense of community; this is a place where everyone looks out for each other. As such, people are able to raise their children in clean and decent homes, free from fear.

However, village life is not without its fair share of problems, most of them economic. Though it may be nestled among gorgeous green hills and have a strong sense of community, Ndotsheni doesn't have much in the way of job opportunities for its people. It's notable that those with an education leave the village at the first opportunity, many of them heading off to big cities such as Johannesburg. If the crops fail, as happens quite a lot in Ndotsheni, there's always work available in Johannesburg, which is why Stephen Kumalo's sister went there.

The outlook for Ndhotseni's future seems pretty grim, to say the least. As Jarvis recognizes, the lack of education, combined with the steep hills and weak cattle, make substantial economic development virtually impossible. Thanks to Jarvis's help and support—particularly his instructing the local villagers in more efficient farming techniques—there's a sense that maybe, just maybe, the village will be able to turn itself around and see better days in the not-too-distant future.

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