Ideals and customs are important in all societies, but specific values differ from culture to culture. Values can be productive, like cleanliness and education, or harmful, like crime and cruelty. One quality valued by many is honor. A person who possesses honor will always stand for what he or she believes in. Many of the characters from Cry Freedom
, directed by Richard Altenbrough and Cry the Beloved Country
, by Alan Paton, possess this wonderful characteristic. Stephen Biko, Stephen Kumalo, and Theophilus Msimangu are the three characters that best demonstrate honor.
Stephen Biko was well-known for being an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa. He was banned in March 1973, when apartheid was at its highest peak. By being banned he could only speak to one person at a time, he could not give public speeches, and had to stay in certain areas. Also, the law would porcecute anyone who used Biko's words. Still, this did not stop Biko. He formed more organizations to protest apatheid and continued to fight until he was arrested on August 18, 1977. The police claimed a hunger strike caused Stephen Biko's death on September 12, but it was determined by a medical examener that his death was actually a result of blunt force to the head.
Stephen Kumalo, the main character in Cry the Beloved Country, was a priest who lived in Ndotsheni. He had a strong moral sense and faith in God. Kumalo does have some flaws, but praying to God saves him from temptation, and he always apologizes when he speaks harshly to his wife and others. Learning of Gertrude's problems with prostitution and the illicit selling of alcohol and that his son, Absolam, was accused of murder made his faith in God waver. Luckily, his friends in the ministry prayed for him and helped to guide him. Kumalo was saddened again when he left Johannesburg, because of all that happened but the way he was greeted back in Ndotsheni greatly helped him. "It is our umfundsi that we understand [...and] we are glad that he is back", said a young child as she welcomed Kumalo. Stephen Kumalo began helping the people of his town again.
Theophilus Msimangu was a generous, young minister. He not only guided Kumalo through Johannesburg in search of his relatives, but also explained the difficulties of the black population to Kumalo and to the reader. He made sure that Kumalo's stay in Johannesburg was as comfortable as possible. Msimangu's suggested solution to South Africa's injustices is Christian love. At the end of the novel Msimangu selflessly gave all of his possessions, including a large sum of money, to Kumalo and joined a monastery. This teaches the reader that the self isn't important, honor to oneself is.
Biko, Kumalo, and Msimangu all show a great amount of honor. Stephen Biko died for what he believed in. Stephen Kumalo tried his best to reunite his family. Msimangu gave away everything he owned and became a monk. Honor or respect is very important in almost every society.