We Are Not Such Things: A Murder in a South African Township and the Search for Truth and Reconciliation
Justine van der Leun
A ‘MAKING A MURDERER’ set in South Africa - a gripping true-crime story of murder and the justice system in the shadow of apartheidIn 1993, in the final, fiery days of apartheid, a 26-year-old white American activist called Amy Biehl was murdered by a group of young black men in a township near Cape Town. Four men were tried and convicted of the murder and sentenced to eighteen years in prison. A few years later they had been freed. Two of the men were subsequently employed by Amy’s parents to work at a charity set up in her memory. The men grew close to the Biehls. They called them ‘Grandmother’ and ‘Grandfather’.Justine van der Leun, an American writer living in South Africa, set out to tell this twenty-year story, but as she delved into the case, the prevailing narrative started to unravel. Why didn’t the eyewitness reports agree on who killed Amy Biehl? Were the men convicted of the crime actually responsible? And could it be that another violent crime committed on the same day, in the very same area, was connected to the murder of Amy Biehl?We Are Not Such Things is the result of Justine van der Leun’s four years investigating this strange, knotted tale of injustice, hatred, forgiveness and reconciliation. It is a gripping journey through the bizarre twists and turns of this case and its aftermath – and a lucid, eye-opening account of life today in a society still fractured and haunted by apartheid.