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Book review | ‘The Thabo Bester Story’, the making of a murderer….

todayFebruary 21, 2024 74 1

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The book titled, “The Thabo Bester Story”, unpacks just why convicted rapist and murderer, Thabo Bester, will be epitomised as the man who swindled South Africa.

Together, authors who first exposed Bester’s fake death, Marecia Damons and Daniel Steyn, attempt to untangle the web of fact and fiction that has shrouded Bester, and his lover Dr Nandipha Magudumana, since his brazen prison escape on the 3rd of May 2022.

Behind his charismatic personality and flashy lifestyle, Bester, through his multiple aliases, hid a dark inclination to sexual violence, robbery and even murder.

Delving briefly into Bester’s early beginnings, the book explores whether his troubled childhood, littered with sexual abuse and juvenile jail sentences, may have led Bester to his life of crime.

The authors take us along for the unlikely romance that sprouted between the convicted criminal, and Magudumana, who despite her enviable social standing and education as a medical doctor, risked it all to help orchestrate the brazen prison escape.

Where the writer’s success is in opening readers up to Magudumana’s side of the story, asking them to more closely consider the manipulation and emotional dependency, that may have led a seemingly intelligent woman to commit horrific crimes, including the alleged violation of a corpse.

“Thabo Bester used his charisma to have a negative pathological influence on his victims… This provides fertile ground for emotional abuse. It is difficult to draw the lines between victimhood and agency in such a relationship,” the authors write. However, much of the short read is built on allegations and speculation, with the true details yet to emerge in the criminal trial that’s scheduled to be heard at the Bloemfontein High Court.

The Thabo Bester Story” asks us all to more closely examine the collective shortcomings, including our obsession with materialism and tendency to turn a blind eye to institutionalised failures that may have ultimately enabled a criminal like Thabo Bester.

A pre-trial conference against Bester and his nine co-accused will kick off today as the country seeks to put together the pieces of the puzzle that’s exposed the steep corruption in the country’s prison system. Written by Naomi Kobbie 

Written by: Lindiwe Mabena

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