“The great bull voice is speaking there in the square.
There are many policemen there, both black and white; it gives one no doubt a sense of power to see them there, and to be speaking to so many people, for the great bull voice growls and rises and falls.”
John Kumalo considers himself to be an important orator, but
what he says is corrupt. Unlike Arthur Jarvis he will not risk anything to pursue his cause.
He views his public speaking as a means for obtaining money. He is regarded with contempt by Dubula and Tomlinson who wish they had his oratory skills in order to give impetus to their genuine cause to improve the conditions of the black people in Johannesburg.
The crowd is caught up in John’s speech except those that have
heard it before. He is against the increases in fares for the buses because if the poor have to pay more to travel to work, they’ll have less money to spend with him.
It is clear that John wishes to take on the role of Chief for these people, and he relishes the notoriety and power that he gets from this public speaking.
The Police are concerned about John because he has the ability
to whip the crowd up into frenzy, but then he pulls back. If there was not a Police presence, the situation could become dangerous.
A strike occurs in the mines and the fear is that it will spread
to the whole of South African industry, bringing about chaos and civil disorder.
However the strike does not last long and is confined to the mines alone. The worst trouble was at Driefontein where three black miners were killed.
During this time, the Annual Meeting of the Johannesburg Diocese was held and some of the
Ministers suggested that the African Mineworkers Union should be recognised so that the plight of African miners could be addressed.
A large proportion of the miners were illiterate and their exploitation was unparalleled.