In Chapter 6, Kumalo sees for the first time the black section of the city where the neglected children play in the streets amid poverty and filth. It is also his first confrontation with a degrading type of life filled with vices of all kinds. The confrontation with Gertrude is significant because when Kumalo first meets her, he takes a hand that is cold and dead. Symbolically, Gertrude is spiritually dead, but gradually, through the warmth and sincere devotion of Kumalo, she begins to come alive. She continues until there is a scene of sincere repentance on her part; then she confesses that she is sick and wishes to return home. The large city has made her sick; a general sickness abounds throughout Johannesburg. We also see a change in Kumalo in that at first he judges his sister harshly before he slowly begins to sympathize with her and ultimately forgives her. The chapter ends on the hope that the tribe will be rebuilt and that Stephen's house will be restored.
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