A nation at odds with itself

BBC correspondent Andrew Harding’s book on a headline-grabbing farm murder case brings an outsider’s objectivity and compassion to SA’s tortured race relations and imperfect justice system

08 November 2020 - 00:38 By sue de groot

Sometimes it takes an outsider to map out the underlying patterns in a community riven by rage, despair and confusion. Strangers sometimes see things more clearly than those intimately and emotionally entangled in events. Not that Andrew Harding is a stranger in SA. He has lived in Johannesburg for 12 years as the BBC’s Africa correspondent and has been more immersed than most South Africans in the many and varied seismic events and political intrigues that tear through our cities, towns and villages. Still, it takes guts not only to write about a double murder on a Free State farm but to attempt to untangle the complex web of relationships, reasons, animosities and ambiguities that obfuscate farm murders in SA.

Harding’s new book, These are not gentle people, is the result of a four-and-a-half- year investigation of a community torn apart by the deaths of two men and the lengthy trial that followed...

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