Gillian Slovo

The Politics of Forgiveness

We Are Not Such Things: A Murder in a South African Township and the Search for Truth and Reconciliation


Fourth Estate 528pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

On 25 August 1993, Amy Biehl, a 26-year-old African-studies major from California, agreed to give three friends a lift into the Cape Town township of Gugulethu. Amy was in South Africa researching the role of women in the coming transition to democracy. Now, with her studies complete, she was about to go back to America. She knew how bloody the years since Mandela’s release had been, but she’d also previously travelled in and out of Gugulethu without incident. This time, however, she ended up driving towards a demonstration organised by the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). The PAC is an African nationalist movement that split from the ANC in the 1950s and whose supporters used the slogan ‘one settler, one bullet’, with anybody white being counted a settler. At the sight of Amy, members of the crowd attacked. A brick thrown through the windscreen hit her and when, disoriented and terrified, she stumbled from the car, she was chased, brought down and stabbed. ‘What did I do?’ she is quoted as saying (though we are never told who heard this), followed by ‘I’m sorry’, her last words before dying. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,