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South Africa: #EXTRAOrdinary Stories

Date: 04.14.2024

Written By

Tonya Khoury

You would be forgiven if you thought you were living in an alternate galaxy this week. The news was just plain weird, some might even say EXTRA ordinary. Good citizens of this magnificent country, you’ve made it, it’s Friday and it’s time to #ScratchTheSurface with Acumen Media.

Let’s start with what is bound to be the next Netflix movie in the making: #ThaboBester, the #FacebookRapist. This story started last year but has been under the rug for ages. Let me unpack this story because I’m as astonished as you are by what has happened. We will have to go back twenty years to get to the beginning. That was when Bester was sentenced to life for rape and murder, thirty charges no less. I watched him talking to a psychologist before his court case was due, and believe it or not, he is highly intelligent and strikingly manipulative. He said that he did rape those women but that the murder was a mistake; the knife just happened to be in the way. While serving his sentence, and sanctioned by the prison service, #ThaboBester had a laptop and was able to run a huge scam from behind the prison walls. This foul man was running a scam under the name #21stCenturyMedia. Here behind the walls, he held an upmarket media event in 2018 that was pitched as “an uplifting event for ‘Women in Media’”. Even celebrities like Yvonne Chaka Chaka attended. The unsuspecting audience was told that the event would be hosted by “Tom Motsepe” from New York via video call. He used the surname #Motsepe because he claimed to be a relative of Patrice Motsepe, which obviously was also not true. When the stage lit up to meet this uplifting gent, guess who turned up on the screen? You guessed it… Bester, from his prison cell, and dressed in a snappy suit to boot. The audience sang happy birthday to him and he laughed so much that he almost fell off his chair. I swear I don’t make this stuff up. I just read the news, so you don’t have to. Erstwhile, his girlfriend Dr Nandi (can such a man have a girlfriend – nah more likely a partner in crime) was living in a 12m luxury mansion just a street away from Ramaphosa’s private residence. And then …

The great escape! Last year, in May, a body was found in Bester’s cell. There had been a fire and it was assumed that Bester was dead. Turns out, quite the opposite, the body belonged to some other person (we still have no idea who that person is which is ridiculous or extraordinary if you like). Bester didn’t die in the fire and neither did the John Doe in the cell. It was determined, after the public started asking difficult questions, that the person in the cell had died from a major trauma to the head and was then set on fire. And it was during this debacle that #ThaboBester escaped from Mangaung prison and moved into the mansion with #DrNandi. A word on #DrNandi, she’s not a real doctor, obviously. I’m sure you worked that out. And so, the blame game began. Many blamed the #G4S (the outsourced prison transfer company) for the great escape but, as much as they are implicated, so is the entire prison’s management. Let’s get real here, the whole chain was bribed. You don’t pull off such an audacious crime without having top brass involved. So today, we have no idea where either Bester or Dr Nandi have disappeared to, and we have no idea who died in Cell 35. I guess we’ll have to wait for Doccie Justice with this one. Both the police and the prison are just waiting for this story to die out with the hope that we’ll forget about it. There is nothing funny about this story, it’s just extraordinary.

#UnderTheRug – stories you’ll forget about. I’ll thought it might be a good idea to remind you every week of a major story that time and journalists let us forget. What ever happened to #ShephardBushiri? He’s the guy who claimed to be a prophet and then jetted out of SA in an escorted plane handled by the highest powers in SA and Malawi. Apparently, if you dig on the net, you’ll find that a month ago he was summoned to court. Summoned? He’s a criminal on the run, if he was summoned, we know where he is, just pick him up by the collar and send him to jail. Oh wait, that doesn’t work. #EXTRAordinaryStory #UnderTheRug.

Talking about EXTRA, the #CoalitionCollision in Ekurhuleni and Tshwane made us feel like we were watching ping pong. There were more mayors and speakers than you can count. I’ve tried, and failed, to follow the whole thing but here’s a quick summary so that you don’t have to endure what I did in this #ExtraordinaryStory. Cast your mind back, not as far back as the #FacebookRapist, but a month or so ago. The #Tshwanemayor, #Randalls, left after allegations were abound that he had knicked 10 bar. Cope’s #Makwarela was made speaker of the house. After seven days, Makwarela was ousted because, in his past, he had declared himself bankrupt but failed to declare that. Two days later he was back with a rehabilitation certificate which was a clear forgery, and after that he left of his own accord with an uncooked omelet on his face. In Ekurhuleni, we all remember that #TaniaCampbell was removed (several times I think). The ANC and the EFF removed her back in October 2022 and reinstated her two weeks later. On Thursday, she was ousted again, by the EFF and ANC, and an AIC member, #Ngodwana, became mayor. In out, in out, shake it all about. #CoalitionCollision. What’s the beef with mayors, man, look at you, not one of you is fit to lead, let alone fix our municipalities. This is a very poor sideshow, and we aren’t even watching anymore as you fight over yourselves for chains. #KetangPolitics #ExtraordinaryStory.

It’s crazy how my words run out so fast, I haven’t even scratched the surface. So, let’s digress a little more to bring you Acumen’s new feature. #ScrubbingTheRedCarpet. It’s a set of mini bios about the characters that play in this drama we call SA. It occurred to us that perhaps you don’t know who #KhakiCarl or #Razmataz are. At Acumen, we’ve fixed that, by summing up their history and how they earned their nicknames. It’s funny and daring. It comes out every hump day, Wednesday, you know to get you through the week. Find it on our social media platforms and let me know if it makes you laugh. Here’s the link for this week’s #Camo #Khaki #KneeHighs Carl Niehaus’ scrub.

Right let’s pick up the pace and focus Khoury! There were several arrests in the #AKA murders; the police are tight lipped, and I’m going to put myself out on a limb here, nothing will happen, it’s just showmanship. Keeping our hopes alive after this #ExtraordinaryStory.

The #TembisaHospital story got bigger and more extraordinary. Turns out there was a tender not just for skinny jeans but for raincoats too. R1bn gone in a flash and not a fashion ramp in sight for what could be the best dressed government hospital in the world. #ExtraordinaryStory.

Think that’s EXTRA LARGE? Try this for size: #Putin is on his way to SA and we have told the world, in no uncertain terms, that we will not arrest him. The #ICC have a warrant for his arrest, that’s a joke, who on earth is going to arrest Putin? He does Sambo. We can’t even arrest Zuma. He does nothing. And in my opinion, it is highly unfair to put SA centre stage in an arrest that could blow up the world. Naledi Pandering Pandor did her job well as she gushed over Mother Russia. The danger to SA is that if we don’t arrest him, which we won’t, we may be the subject of sanctions. Well, I say that and then I remember the #AlJazeera documentary which basically names Southern Africa as the money laundering head quarters of the world. Gold washes well apparently and we have lots of that. So maybe we’ll get away with this to keep the whirlpools turning. If you didn’t watch the doccie, because you knew I would, it is safe to say that both #StandardBank and #Sasfin are heavily implicated in this laundry cycle and they must be waking up to a dirty media hangover this morning that even Omo can’t wash out.  #ExtraordinaryStory.

Then my friend Dali was filibustering about a quorum in #MadamBusi’s enquiry, and this week we saw the impossible; the extraordinary use of mountains of pointless words from Dali Mpofu. He stopped after lunch to chuck a new “off ramp” into the works. Dyanti (the Chair) was told that the whole proceeding was not a quorum because many MPs were absent from this week’s edition of his meanderings. I’m not surprised, I play him on double speed and it’s still too slow. I’d also kekeletsi. #Dyanti tore him a new one and the show moved on. On Monday, #AdvocateBawa takes on Madam, that should be extra, but the likelihood is the public neglector won’t even turn up, or some other side road will be presented. Bored? You bet! Not such an #extraordinarystory once you’ve watched it for almost a year.

With speed now, #ThaboMbeki wrote a letter that was “leaked” (in other words “published”) stating that SA cannot ignore the #Farmgate matter and it must be investigated. The Minister of Electricity’s party is over and we are back to #Stage4 and #Stage6. I read a frightening article of how the mining companies are rolling out plans in preparation for a complete grid collapse. #ExtraordinaryStories.

Both #LeighMatthews and #ReevaSteenkamp’s killers are up for parole, and we are all disgusted. I don’t ever want to talk about Oscar again, but here I am and that’s all the time you’re getting #gunRunner. Skunk-head #Gumede’s trial continues and it’s kept out the press to such an extent that we have all noticed its absence. Is the media bought? This should be the story of the month surely? #EXTRAOrdinary.

The #SATourism #SpursDeal was scrapped and #Spurs themselves had an extraordinary week, but I don’t do sport so you’ll have to read that for yourselves. Muggz #DeRuyter is back and will appear at #SCOPA, the same place we dealt with #Eskom years ago, and where nothing happened. The #ANCYL became the ANCPL (pensioner’s league) as gogo Dlamini Zuma takes the helm. I thought she’d be at the zol expo to be honest. She’s a legend in the 420 club, not so much in politics.

There’s a new political party that I cannot pronounce, #Xiluva. BP left South Africa (you missed that one, right?). The #RepoRate is up, floods are ravaging Port St Johns and it’s our third anniversary of our #Lockdown. Are we still on #LevelOne? Then remember the #MotiBrothers, those kids that were kidnapped? Well, Dad exited SA this week, guess what that is? Yip an #EXTRAordinaryStory.

Across the waters, an #AIGenerated great white shark appears to have washed up on beaches across the globe, but it’s just some pictures guys, go dive, it’s ok. There was the 129th mass shooting in USA this year. France sees the mother of all protests. Charles says no partying at the Coronation and Trump has been indited. All of which are #ExtraordinaryStories.

I really feel this report could have been funnier, but I seem to have left my sense of humour under water as I remembered how to dive and I laughed so much and smiled so hard that I had to force water out of my mouth. I think I may need a refresher course, don’t tell my friends. That’s it, you’ve scratched that itch, now switch off your news and go enjoy the outdoors. We have an extraordinarily beautiful country, and the long weekend is coming up. I will miss you next week, but we all deserve a break right? Stay #EXTRA SA.

I’m Tonya Khoury, thank you for scratching the surface with me.

Extraordinary Story

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