Who are July's people in Nadine Gordimer's novel "July's People"?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

July's people refers to the family to whom July protects and shelters in the wake of a violent civil war in South Africa.    In this transfer of power, the White establishment has been dislodged by Black Revolutionaries, who in the wake of apartheid are committing violent atrocities as a result of their newly usurped power.  The Smales family, a liberal and white South African family, had employed July as their servant.  As a result of the violence, the Smales must flee to July's village, and become his responsibilities in the village, hence, July's people.  In a broader sense, "July's people" can refer to what happens in the post- Apartheid Africa.  In a setting where the political and social stratification that divides Blacks from Whites is removed, what happens to both groups?  Who becomes whose responsibility?  Who becomes "July's people"?  The larger issues raised by the work revolves around the issue of how does the absence of a power structure like Apartheid impact relationships between both groups.