CHAPTERS 15 and 16
We now see the significance of the names given to his characters by Paton.
Just as St. Stephen endured the stoning and prolonged agony, so
Kumalo endures the agony of his son’s plight.
You will recall that Absalom rebelled against his father King David. John the Baptist prophesied the coming of Jesus, being his cousin, and there are similarities here between the relationship of Stephen and John.
We wonder how Kumalo would cope without the assistance he has
received firstly from Msimangu, and now Father Vincent. Both have supplied practical help.
The girl’s story in Chapter 16 gives a real insight into the
problems faced by people who have lost the continuity of family life. She is apparently alone and can only find any sort of relationship by giving herself sexually.
We see a lapse from Stephen when he acts cruelly towards the
girl, brought on by his depression. This marks the lowest point of his spirit, and despite the tragedies that are to come, Kumalo seems determined to rise above the situation.
He comes to the realization that he cannot change the world; he can only do the best he can for those around him.
The compassion shown towards him by those at the Mission House
rubs off on Kumalo, and from here on in, he becomes a more caring and complete person.