Cry, the beloved country

Alan Paton


A book from the 1940’s finds its way to book of the week this week and what a beautiful read it is too. Paton’s book portrays a lifestyle in South Africa pre-apartheid but with obvious demarcation in the state based on colour or creed. 

I find it interesting reading it with lockdown eyes as it tells a tale of simpler times with very little opportunity for minorities. This was a time of little travel. Those living outside the big city were glad to avoid all the streets of the main towns. There is a sadness in the words and a context that can be added into today’s world.

“Cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end. The sun pours down on the earth, on the lovely land that man cannot enjoy. He knows only fear in his heart.”  

Of course that wasn’t written with a global pandemic in mind but the ugly viciousness of inequality. And when one of the characters asks “…what do we see of these riches? Is it that we must be kept poor so that others may stay rich” I sit and ponder in the wonder that this could be many eras since. And I hope it won’t continue.


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