Book Review – Shepherds And Butchers

by Chris Marnewick (Umuzi) ISBN: 9781415209011

‘On the tenth of December 1987 at about 18:00 hours on a deserted road near Magazine Hill Reservoir the accused forced the minibus in which the deceased were travelling from the road. He then shot each one of the deceased at least once with a pistol.’

The accused is Leon Albert Labuschagne, 19-years-old. Lawyers For Human Rights appoints a pro bono advocate to defend him. Before the crimes, Leon was deployed at maximum security on death row as an escort to the prisoners. He was reaching breaking point and grappling with the perplexing question: How can you be a shepherd and then a butcher?

The story is a mixture of fact and fiction and it is riveting throughout. Gruesome details are revealed concerning murderous criminals, including their abhorrent behaviours and twisted psyches. Yet equally horrifying is the process of implementing the death penalty. Is hanging a deterrent? Are we not as brutal as the criminals? Does violence beget violence?

This story implies that those who are trained to kill can become automatons and will act on the slightest provocation.

Shepherds And Butchers is definitely worth reading.

Dawn Blankfield

Posted on: 29th November 2016