The main purpose of this Chapter is to provide a backdrop to the
main plot, and give the reader some indication as to the lifestyle of the poor native population of Johannesburg.
We see that John Kumalo walks a fine line between the Police
authorities and being the self-appointed Chief of the black society. He has to inspire “his people”, but keep on the right side of the law.
Msimangu suggests that it is a mixed blessing that John
is corrupt because if he truly believed in bringing justice to the black population, he could quite easily incite them to rebel against the authorities, which would cause a bloodbath.
John’s main aim is to bolster his own standing in the black
community and no doubt would co-operate with the authorities if they made it worth his while.
The industrial unrest merely provides the white community with
more insecurity and apprehension for the future.