3. This is no time to talk of hedges and fields, or the beauties of any country. . . . Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom that is gone. Aye, and 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.
This quotation, from Chapter 11, stands in contrast to the novel’s early tendency to dwell on the lush South African landscape and urges sorrow instead. By breaking out of this pattern and addressing us with such urgency, the narrator reflects how grave and ingrained South Africa’s problems are. The quotation’s ominous last line is a note of prophetic foreshadowing of Absalom’s death, and though it certainly reflects the pessimism Kumalo and his brethren may feel, it also informs us that this episode is one of many blows that South Africa has yet to endure.