At dusk, on a warm evening in 2016, a group of forty men gathered in the corner of a dusty field on a farm outside Parys in the Free State. Some were in fury. Others treated the whole thing as a joke – a game. The events of the next two hours would come to haunt them all. They would rip families apart, prompt suicide attempts, breakdowns, divorce, bankruptcy, threats of violent revenge and acts of unforgivable treachery.
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.
Award-winning foreign correspondent and author Andrew Harding traces the impact of one moment of collective barbarism on a fragile community – exploding lies, cover-ups, political meddling and betrayals, and revealing the inner lives of those involved with extraordinary clarity.
These Are Not Gentle People is an utterly compelling true crime story using narrative non fiction to really dig deep and engage the reader on many emotional levels.
An act of violence splits a community down the middle, Andrew Harding explores both the act and the people with an insightful eye and with various perspectives offering a bird’s eye view on character and event. This reads like a complex thriller but this really happened and the effects on those involved comes to life within the words of the author in vivid detail.
A truly stunning exploration of how one moment in time has far reaching consequences, These Are Not Gentle People ultimately tells the tale of a community in flux. It is part mystery, part courtroom drama, all intense character study and comes highly recommended from me.