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Marguerite Poland


Chapter 4:
Questions to challenge you!

Keith Tankard
Updated: 4 March 2014
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Walter Brownley journeys to the neighbouring mission at Mbokothwe to collect a printing press. There he meets Reverend Hubert Brompton, an arrogant man who is completely out of his depth on the missions.

It is also Walter's initiation to a mission which he finds terrifying because of its isolation and its eerie atmosphere.


Racism is the second side of the colonial triangle along with colonialism.

Typical colonialists were not necessarily racists as such but simply believed themselves superior to the Black people.

They tried to inculcate the Xhosa into English tradition, not noticing that they always moved the goal posts whenever that person was achieving the desired outcome.

In other words, the colonialists were trying to produce black Englishmen but always made it impossible for them to achieve the goal.

As one novelist put it,"all animals are equal but some are more equal than others". (George Orwell, Animal Farm)

Racism, on the other hand, is the belief that certain people are inherently inferior, and nothing can be done to change that.

The Germans under Adolph Hitler believed that the Jews were inferior. On the other hand, many White South Africans accepted the idea that the Black races were genetically inferior.

Once one accepts the racist philosophy, many things then become possible. Racism is then seen to fit in with natural law: people are inferior because God ordained it so.

If God therefore created a person to be inferior, it is perfectly legitimate for the "superior culture" to exploit the "inferior".

In many ways the concept of capitalism and racism went hand in hand. The Black mine labourers could be made to work under harsh conditions and for pathetic wages because God himself had created them to be inferior.

Rural Black people could have their sons recruited for a few paltry head of cattle because they were accepted as being innately inferior.

Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?
Read the left column and then answer
the following questions:

Mbokothwe is presented as the exact reverse of St Matthias.
  • In what way do the two missions differ? (6)

[Need help?]

Walter finds Mbokothwe to be sinister.
  • In what ways is this so? (6)

[Need help?]

Read the commentary on Colonialism and Racism.
  • Would you say that the Reverend Brompton is a Colonialist or a Racist? Explain your answer carefully. (6)

[Need help?]

Walter believes Brompton to be on the verge of collapse.
  • What gives him this idea? (6)

[Need help?]

Comment on Pusey's apparently dual character:
  • the simple and dishevelled servant vs the shadowy but alert figure. (6)

[Need help?]

Comment on the DRAMATIC IRONY in Walter Brownley's words: "Not Mbokothwe, Boggis. That I promise you, now . . . Anywhere, Boggis. Anywhere, but not Mbokothwe." (6)

[Need help?]

Try another worksheet?

See also:
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