CHAPTERS 8, 9 and 10
The search continues for Absalom and Kumalo’s learning curve
intensifies as he is met with new situations.
Alexandra is some eleven miles away and they are not able to
take the bus because there is a boycott. Fairs have increased from 4 pence to 6 pence for the journey, and the native community is refusing to pay the increase and is boycotting the buses.
Kumalo and Msimangu resolve to walk the distance.
The pair had walked many miles through the city when a car
stopped, driven by a white man offering them a lift. The white man is sympathetic towards the bus boycott and many whites assist the blacks by giving those lifts.
Msimangu advises Kumalo concerning the bus boycott and he gives
details regarding the leaders of this movement. At the heart of the movement is a man called Dubula who has suffered much, and he is dedicated to bringing reform to the native population.
A man called Tomlinson supports him and he is the brains of the movements composing speeches for the public meetings. John’s involvement is purely selfish, and he is only in the movement to get out of it as much as he can. Eventually they reach Alexandra, but the landlady only passes them on to a taxi driver.
There is an interruption to the story in Chapter 9, where the
reader is given an insight into the suffering of the residents in the shantytown.
They make contact with the taxi driver who is called
Hlabeni. He reveals that Absalom was involved in petty crime and that he had been sent to the Reformatory.
Kumalo is disappointed that a whole day has passed and he has still not met with his son.
The two travel back to the Mission as it is getting dark and
Kumalo obtains some hope from the fact that many white men give lifts to the natives because of the bus boycott. He feels that all cannot be bad in society when there is such kindness.
Kumalo and Msimangu go to the Reformatory where they learn that
Absalom was a model inmate. He left there a month earlier, due to his good behavior and also because there was a young girl who was pregnant by him.
She visited him often in the institution and the pair seemed genuinely fond of one another. They trace the young girl and she advises Kumalo that Absalom had left a few days ago to go to Springs and has not yet returned. The girl seemed resigned to the fact that she had been deserted. Kumalo felt responsibility for the girl as she carried his grandchild, although Msimangu said that he could not be certain of that.