CHAPTERS 6 and 7
The next day, Kumalo and Msimangu seek out Gertrude.
Kumalo hopes that she will have news concerning his son Absalom.
Kumalo is shocked by the filth and poverty of the streets where
his sister lives. Malnourished children play in the streets without supervision.
At first their meeting is frosty, but soon Gertrude comes to life and her brother eventually forgives her, and the pair resolves to stay together. Gertrude desires to return home and this helps lift Kumalo’s depression, as he hopes to rebuild his family. He will ask his landlady if she will take Gertrude and her son in until they can return home.
Gertrude does not have details of where Absalom is living, but
she heard that he associated with his cousin, John’s son. Kumalo decides to seek out his brother, John.
Mrs. Lithebe agrees to take Gertrude and the boy in.
She is honored to have a minister in her house for she is a good Christian woman.
Kumalo’s first thought on bringing Gertrude out of the slums is
to buy her a new dress and clothes for the boy.
Gertrude soon settles into her new life in Mrs. Lithebe’s house and she helps with the household chores whilst the small boy revels in his new surroundings.
Kumalo then meets with his brother and he has clearly prospered
and has grown fat.
He acts like one of the old tribal Chiefs and is somewhat pompous. He stresses that he is a man of importance in Johannesburg as he has his own business “I can make '10, '12 a week.” John confesses to Kumalo that his son and Absalom were rebellious and got up to mischief. At one time they shared a room and they had work in a factory called Doornfontein Textiles. Perhaps they would know the whereabouts of Absalom. However, at the factory, although the white men there treated them with consideration, they could only advise that Absalom had left some twelve months earlier. Absalom had been staying with a woman called Mrs. Endlela in a street on the outskirts of Westdene. She told them that Absalom had left and gone to live in Alexandra with Mrs. Nkize.
Kumalo was feeling tired and Msimangu said that they would rest
and continue their search next day.