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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
John Kumalo is speaking in the square his thundering voice has people spell-bound. There are many policemen guarding the area, lest trouble brew up. The voice of John growls against the injustice done to the natives, who are starving in their dingy house while the white mine owners are rolling in gold. John Kumalo vociferously urges the natives to strike work rather than sell their labor cheap. There is in john Kumaloís voice, power enough to unleash madness amongst the people, but he is himself afraid of that latent power, hence beyond a certain point his thunderous voice grows faint, and the growing dies in a whimper. The natives strike works. The strike goes beyond the mines. There is trouble at a couple of places, but the police are able to Ďcontrolí the situation. Soon everything is quiet, the strike ends.
John Kumaloís speech begins with a bang and ends in a whimper. It says a good deal about the person, John Kumalo.
There is charisma in his voice, which can proselytize people and set a revolution rolling. However, John fears the potential of his voice, fears the sacrifice it will initial above all he fears the loss of power. He wants to stir up the people for the native cause, but he himself is unwilling to sacrifice his status and life for it. He is the modern-day prophet powerful but corrupted by power. He had earlier decried the village chiefs for their autocracy, but with his thundering growl, he is trying to play lion king himself. Dubula and Tomlison envy their colleague but hold him in contempt because they are aware of his hollowness. Msimangu feels that John is better off with the chink in his armor, or else he could plunge the country into bloodshed.
Mrs. Lithebe chastises Gertrude for talking and laughing wantonly with men, she tells the erring woman not to aggravate her brothers miseries by behaving in a loose fashion. Gertrude is ashamed and wishes to leave Johannesburg as soon as possible and start afresh uncorrupted life in Ndotsheni.
The newspaper headline screams of yet another murder of a European by a native house-broker. The news upsets Gertrude and Mrs. Lithebe terribly for it implied diminished chance of allowance being made in Absalomís case. They decide to hide the paper from Kumalo who is a broken and frail man these days.
After the meals Msimangu, Kumalo, Mrs. Lithebe and Gertrude meet a black woman who speaks of taking up the holy orders and how god has removed the desires from her. On returning home, Gertrude tells Mrs. Lithebe that she intends to become a nun. Mrs. Lithebe is happy, but says that it is a difficult decision and she must think about it before going to bed. Gertrude tells the young girls about her feelings to become a nun. She takes a promise from the girl to look after her son when she is gone.
Mrs. Lithebe counsel to Gertrude regarding her loose behavior foreshadows Gertrudeís return to the depravity from which Kumalo had retrieved her. She dabbles with the idea to become a nun, not out of any spiritual stirrings but to have the desire removed. The desires are there, hence the backsliding. The news of yet another crime spells disaster for Absalomís case. The murder of Arthur Jarvis has already worked up to the whites and further reports of crime in the city aggravate their anger. It seems clear now that no mercy will be shown to Absalom. Fate is sealed just as King Davidís son, Absalom, was caught in the branches of the oak tree and crucified. Similarly Kumaloís son Absalom is caught in conflicting furies and will be ultimately executed.