Legislation against non-whites in government forced Paton, who was president of the multi-ethnic party, to disband rather than conform to the new laws in 1968.
The action begins with a letter that comes to Kumalo from Johannesburg, telling him that his sister, Gertrude Kumalo, is ill and needs his help.
Kumalo consults with his wife and decides to use their meagre savings to go to the big city to help his sister.
At the same time as this novel's publication, Jan Hofmeyr died, and the National Party won the election.
Apartheid policies were almost immediately enacted. The international success of Cry, The Beloved Country enabled Paton to be financially independent[Image not available for copyright reasons]as well as allowing him to write in opposition to the government and travel abroad.