These are not gentle people, a true story
These are not gentle people is the story of that night, and of what happened next. It’s a courtroom drama, a profound exploration of collective guilt and individual justice, and a fast-paced literary thriller.
"These Are Not Gentle People is a South African tragedy. Page after page reveals the painful truth, that the sun has set on Mandela’s Rainbow Nation. Dreams and hopes of a better future have been silenced by fear, racial tension and a disengaged political system. The lives of the characters, from the landless and poor blacks, to the white landowners caught in a vortex of fear and oblivion, are a true reflection of South Africa’s unfinished business – building a country that belongs to all. For the people of Parys, that dream is elusive and the contestation for a place under the sun, is fierce, brutal and deadly. A gripping and painful read, told with empathy and nuance. These are not gentle people, is an uncomfortable reminder that the past is not over." – Redi Tlhabi
On a warm summer’s evening in 2016 a group of white farmers gathered in the corner of a field outside Parys, in the Free State. At their feet lay two black men – suspected thieves. The events that followed would come to haunt an entire community, tearing families apart, stoking racial tensions, and culminating in an explosive and profoundly revealing trial. In this nuanced literary thriller, Andrew Harding tells the story of one moment of collective fury, explores its impact on a fractured town, and captures the drama of a Hawks investigation and the courtroom battles that built up – over years – to a furiously contested and stunning conclusion.
These Are Not Gentle People is a true story, a courtroom drama, a profound exploration of collective guilt and individual justice. The story of the brutal beating and death of two young men and those accused of committing the crime. Set in the small farming community of Parys in the Free State it is a true story of crime, punishment and redemption. When a whole community is on trial, who pays the price? Award-winning foreign correspondent and author Andrew Harding traces the impact of one moment of collective barbarism on a fragile community – exposing lies, cover-ups, political meddling and betrayals, and revealing the inner lives of those involved with extraordinary clarity.
The author says: “This is a peculiarly South African tale about a frenzied double murder and its bitter aftermath. But These Are Not Gentle People is also, I hope, a thriller, an exploration of rage and betrayal, and a twisting human story that will appeal to a wide audience.”
Andrew Harding is the author of the internationally acclaimed The Mayor of Mogadishu and a foreign correspondent for BBC News. He left Britain in 1991 and has since lived and worked in the former Soviet Union, Asia, Kenya, and – for the past decade – in South Africa. His radio and television reports have won him international recognition, including an Emmy. He currently lives in Johannesburg with his family.