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The native priest, Stephen Kumalo, who leaves for Johannesburg in search of his son, Absalom. The task he faces is of rehabilitating his splintered family. In a larger context, it implies his desire to restore the tribal system.
The white man's unjust world, which oppresses the natives. The emanating frustration leads Stephen's sister to degeneration, and his son to mindless violence. Like many of their fellow natives Absalom and Gertrude fall into the morass and are sunk irretrievably.
The revelation that his son has killed a man. It is from this devastating point that Stephen Kumalo's simplistic view of life undergoes a radical change and he begins to gain in maturity and in the understanding of the problems of his race.
Stephen Kumalo's tragedy and intense suffering draw him out from the exclusive concern to restore his family, to the profounder concern for the larger family, i.e., his country. He realizes that it is pointless to strive for reinstalling the tribal order and that it made more sense to deal with the situation as it stood. He therefore places his hopes on the younger generation and devotes his energies to make his country a better place.