Character Analysis Msimangu


Msimangu is the mission priest who wrote Kumalo about Gertrude's plight. He is the person who admits and recognizes that he is sinful because he loses his temper, but at the same time he feels that "God has laid his hands" on him. He devotes most of his time to helping Kumalo and, at the end of the novel, gives all of his money to Kumalo. He is a person dedicated to helping others and to sacrificing himself for the benefit of others.

Msimangu is the spokesman for many of the central problems of the novel. He is the one who suggests that the core of the problem in South Africa lies in the fact that the white man has destroyed all of the tradition connected with the old tribal situation. Yet there are no new values to replace those that were destroyed in the breakdown of the tribal system. He also maintains that most of the black leaders are no better than the whites because as soon as a black man gets some degree of power, he becomes as corrupt as any of the white men. The ideal leader would be someone who did not desire power and who, when receiving a certain degree of power, would use it for the benefit of the black race as a whole. Several times during the novel he asserts that power corrupts more than any other factor. He sees that John Kumalo has been corrupted merely by the power of his own voice and is thankful that John is such a coward that he does not attempt to get more power.

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