Thabo Bester

Facebook rapist and murderer Thabo Bester. Images via Twitter @chriseldalewis

‘Soon, I’ll be gone’: Bester told cellmate before escape [watch]

An inmate who shared the same cell as Thabo Bester has revealed what happened before the Facebook rapist’s escape in May last year.

Thabo Bester

Facebook rapist and murderer Thabo Bester. Images via Twitter @chriseldalewis

Thabo Bester’s cellmate says he told him he would be leaving prison soon.

This was revealed by the prison mate, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, in an interview with Carte Blanche — aired on Monday, 17 April.

ALSO READ: Unknown rapist or local shopkeeper? Who is Thabo Bester’s father?


Bester — dubbed the “Facebook rapist” — had been serving a life sentence at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein when he staged his death in a fire and brazenly escaped on 3 May.

A week after he was arrested in Tanzania with his partner-in-crime Dr Nandipha Magudumana his cellmate (referred to as Inmate X), reveals that he had lots of money.

“He was a very quiet guy, but you could see that he has everything. He was carrying a roll of money. He said ‘if you have money, you will get everything’,” the prisoner said.

ALSO READ: ‘I’m politically connected’: Bester tells Dr Nandipha in ‘leaked audio’

On 30 April, just three days before his audacious escape, Bester was moved into solitary confinement (cell 35) — a cell that was located in a camera blind spot.

Inmate X says that Bester told anyone who would listen that he would be leaving soon.

“He said to me, ‘I’m just here. But soon, I’ll be gone’,” says Inmate X.

ALSO READ: Mkhuseli Magudumana: 5 facts about Dr Nandipha’s ex-husband

Three days after being moved, at around 02:00, they heard an explosion coming from Bester’s cell. Almost 30 minutes later, they heard an even louder explosion.

Inmate X also revealed that after flagging Bester’s “death” as an escape, he was victimised, his identity was revealed, and he was moved to another prison.


Dr Nandipha Magudumana is facing charges for aiding and abetting the escape of the Facebook rapist and murderer. In March,  Ground Up reported that after the fire, she claimed “Bester’s charred body” saying she is his “customary wife”.

ALSO READ: Bester ‘assaulted’ Dr Nandipha in front of her children and friends

The publication also revealed that she started visiting him in 2017. Two days after she and Bester were arrested in Tanzania, Sunday Times reported that Dr Nandipha had allegedly stolen three unidentified bodies from Free State mortuaries last year. One of the bodies was used as the decoy in Bester’s successful escape.

As a result, she also faces charges of arson for the fire in the cell, defeating the administration of justice, murder and fraud.

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester, Dr Nandipha checked into JHB hotel before fleeing

Dr Nandipha, a former G4S employee, Senohe Matsoara, and Integritron CCTV technician Tebogo Lipholo — who also face the same charges the doctor — were denied bail on 17 April at the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court. They are due to appear in court next month.

Another twist in the prison escape saga is Dr Nandipha’s father, Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, who was also arrested in connection with the escape. Sekeleni was granted R10 000 and he now faces charges of aiding and abetting a fugitive, defeating the ends of justice and fraud. His murder and arson charges were dropped.

ALSO READ: Thabo Bester saga: Who is Dr Nandipha’s father Zolile Sekeleni?

Thabo Bestwr, Dr Nandipha
Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha. Images via Twitter: @sihlemavuso, @sli_masikane