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Context.  Born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa  Birthday: January 11, 1903  Father: Scottish Farmer  Mother: South African of English heritage.

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Presentation on theme: "Context.  Born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa  Birthday: January 11, 1903  Father: Scottish Farmer  Mother: South African of English heritage."— Presentation transcript:

1 Context

2  Born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa  Birthday: January 11, 1903  Father: Scottish Farmer  Mother: South African of English heritage

3  Attended Natal University  At 22, became a teacher and taught at two of South Africa’s elite, all-white schools.  Ten years later, became principal of the Diepkloof Reformatory, a prison school for black youths.

4  While principal, he tried to loosen the restrictions on the students and prepare them for life outside the reformatory walls.

5  He traveled to study reformatory schools worldwide.  It was on one of these trips, shortly after WW2, he wrote Cry, the Beloved Country.  It was published in  After its success, he resigned to pursue writing fulltime.

6  Set in South Africa in 1940’s.  The story is set against a backdrop of economic and political tensions that have a lengthy and complicated history.

7  Thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived, southern Africa was populated by various African tribes: The San  The Khoikhoi Bantu-speaking people (ancestors of modern Zulus)

8  The first European settlers in South Africa were the Dutch in the 1600’s.  They only wanted to set up trade, not colonize the country, so they met with little resistance.

9  By the mid-1700s, the Dutch had… Come to be known as the Boers Developed their own language, Afrikaans Begun to settle deeper into the country

10  In a process similar to the displacement and destruction of the Native Americans in the US, African tribes were forced off their lands.  Many Africans died from disease and loss in battle against the well-armed Boers.

11  English settlers first arrived in  Unlike the Dutch, by the early 1800s, the English decided to make it a full-fledged colony.

12  Concentrated in the coastal cities, the English soon found themselves in conflict with the Boer farmers, who called themselves “the white tribe of Africa.”  The Boers moved north, away from the coast, leaving the English alone.

13  While the Dutch moved north, the Zulus (led by the famous warrior-leader Shaka), pressed south on a military campaign.  They and the English fought many bloody battles before the Zulus were defeated.

14  The Boers created several independent republics and kept to themselves.  When diamonds and gold were discovered in their territories, however, the British moved to annex them.  This led to the first Anglo-Boer war in 1881.

15  The Boers regained independence of their territories, but when gold was discovered on their land in 1886, the British invaded the area again.  The second Anglo-Boer war lasted from 1899 to  The British won and officially established the Union of South Africa in 1910.

16  Cry, the Beloved Country takes place after these upheavals and immediately before the implementation of apartheid (in 1948).  During this time, black workers were permitted to hold only unskilled jobs and were subject to “pass laws” that restricted their freedom of movement.

17  In 1913, the Natives Land Act radically limited the amount of land that black South Africans were permitted to own.  As the character Arthur Jarvis states in the novel, just one-tenth of the land was set aside for four-fifths of the country’s people.

18  This led to massive overcrowding.  Because of this, many black South Africans moved to Johannesburg to work in the mines.  Those in power welcomed all the cheap labor that was coming into town, but they didn’t build sufficient housing for all of them.

19  These are the circumstances under which the character Stephen Kumalo leaves his impoverished rural village to search for his son in Johannesburg.

20  Though Paton’s novel helped raise the social consciousness of white South Africa, things got much worse before they got better.  In 1948, the National Party introduced apartheid.

21  Under apartheid, every South African was classified according to race.  The Group Areas Act enforced the physical separation of blacks from whites.  Every aspect of South African life was racially segregated.

22  Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) began protests against the new laws in the form of strikes and marches.  After decades of struggle and bloodshed, the ANC prevailed, and South Africa held its first free election in 1994.

23  Mandela was elected president and apartheid was dismantled.

24  Cry, the Beloved Country is set in this tense and fragile society, where the breathtaking beauty of the nation’s natural landscape is tainted by the fears of the people.  And yet, the message of the novel is one of hope.

25  Characters such as Stephen Kumalo, James Jarvis, and Theophilus Msimangu reveal a potential for goodness in humankind.  They are able to defuse hatred, overcome fear, and take the first steps necessary for mending a broken nation.


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