Stephen Kumalo

Stephen Kumalo, a black priest from a small village, receives a letter from Johannesburg, where it is said that his sister is very sick and needs his help. She had long since left her native village in search of her husband, having left for the big city and eventually remained there. Kumalo collects all the means available to him and goes on such a difficult trip for him. Upon arrival, he learns that his sister has been working in a brothel for a long time. Intending to help her sister before, Kumalo unexpectedly changes her plans in connection with the fact that she receives bad news about her son, who is detained on charges of robbery and murder.

Using the example of Stephen Kumalo, the author shows that even when the most crushing sorrows fall upon you, a way out can be found without falling into fits of rage. For Kumalo in this story, there can be no happy ending. But the image of the old priest symbolizes a person’s ability to endure suffering. Kumalo thinks and acts unhurriedly, “in the slow rhythm of his tribe,” but in his soul, a storm of feelings rages. Sometimes he is overwhelmed by rage, and then we hear from Kumalo painful hurt speech. But he finds the strength to curb his anger and asks pardon from those whom he hurt.

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Stephen Kumalo in the Essays