Cry, the Beloved Country

List of Characters

Image from 1951 film "Cry, the Beloved Country"
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Stephen Kumalo

Stephen Kumalo is the protagonist of the novel. He is wise and compassionate Zulu minister of the St Mark's church in the village of Ndotsheni. He is a father of Absalom Kumalo.

James Jarvis

James Jarvis is a white farmer and land owner in Ndotsheni. He does not  share a same view of Blacks as his son, who fights for Black people's right. However, after his son's death, Jarvis changes his attitude towards Black people significantly.

Theophilus Msimangu

Theophilus Msimangu is a young minister from Johannesburg. Though he can say hurtful words, he is an honest and kind man. He guides Kumalo through Johannesburg and help Kumalo find his son.

Absalom Kumalo

John Kumalo's one and only son. He went to Johannesburg in order to look for Gertrude. However, he never returned to Ndotsheni. He murdered Arthur Jarvis when he was discovered breaking into his house with Johannes Pafuri and Matthew Kumalo.

Arthur Jarvis

Arthur Jarvis is James Jarvis's son. He fought for black people's right. He is loved by both white and black people. However, he was murdered by Absalom Kumalo when he discovered Kumalo and his accomplices breaking into his house.

Gertrude Kumalo

Gertrude is a little sister  of Stephen Kumalo. She went to Johannesburg to look for her husband, who works in a mine.  However, instead of looking for her husband, she becomes a prostitute and sells alcohol, which is against christinan principles. Furthermore, she is very irresponsible and immature. She does not pay great attention to her son. When Kumalo asked where her son was, she was not able to pinpoint her son's whereabouts.

John Kumalo

He is a brother of Stephen Kumalo. He used to be a carpenter; however, he becomes a politician after he came to Johannesburg. He has a powerful voice that he uses to gain power. John Kumalo abandoned his faith as Christian and enjoys his power as politician. It is ironic how John Kumalo claims that black is ill-treated by White but still enjoys western custom to the point to abandon old customs.

Dubula & Tomlinson

Both Dubula & Tomlinson are heavy preachers in the battle between the white aristocracy and the black working class. Dubula played  a heavy role in bus boycott, and the creation of the shantytowns, while Tomlinson, was referred to as the brightest of the three ralliers. Dubula is known for having a heart and passion and Tomlinson for his brains.

Mrs. Lithebe

A kind Christian lady who provides Kumalo, Gertrude, Gertrude's son, and Absalom's Girlfriend a place to stay.

Absalom's Girlfriend

Absalom's Girlfriend is a girl pregnant with Absalom's child.  She longs for a family; therefore, when Stephen Kumalo asks her to come to Ndotsheni with him, she becomes overjoyed. Even though she is young, she is very keen and smart. 

Father Vincent

Father Vincent is a priest from England. He is the one who suggest and precede Absalom's wedding in the prison church. He alsohelps  Kumalo by giving advice when he was suffering from Absalom's situation and by getting him a lawyer.

Mr. Carmichael

Mr. Carmichael is Absalom's lawyer. He represented Absalom without asking for money. He is willing to represent Absalom for God.

Napoleon Letsitsi

A black man hired by James Jarvis to teach farming techniques to the people of Ndotsheni. He does not like the idea of relying on White people, which Kumalo disagrees.

Arthur's son

Arthur's son is a bright child who yet  understands the distance between Black and White. He is quick to become close with Stephen Kumalo. Arthur's son is willing to learn Zulu, showing that he is willing to learn about Black's culture.

The young man

The young man is a white man that works at the reformatory Absalom Kumalo was in. He is hurt by the fact that Absalom betraryed his trust. Furthermore, the young man also helps Kumalo find his son. Similar to Alan Paton's work at Diepkloof Reformatory.

Johannes Pafuri and Matthew Kumalo

Johannes Pafuri is the mastermind behind the scheme of breaking into Jarvis's house. Matthew Kumalo is John Kumalo's son, meaning that he is Absalom's cousin and Kumalo's nephew. Johannes and Mathew both claim that they are innocent. Indeed, because of insufficient evidence, the judge declares them innocent.

John Harrison

The brother of Arthur's wife Mary. He takes in James Jarvis when he visits Johannesburg after Arthur's death. Although he is extremely racist towards the black race, he is kind and gentle to the Jarvis's and is extremely helpful in their time of need, taking them around the city.