Basetsana Kumalo and Dingaan Thobela

Basetsana Kumalo and Dingaan Thobela. Images via Twitter @BraHlonisky and @tumisole

Look back: Dingaan’s alleged abusive relationship with Basetsana

Basetsana Kumalo wrote in her memoir that her former lover, Dingaan Thobela beat her up and once pulled out a gun at her.

Basetsana Kumalo and Dingaan Thobela

Basetsana Kumalo and Dingaan Thobela. Images via Twitter @BraHlonisky and @tumisole

In her 2019 memoir, Bassie: My Journey of Hope, Basetsana Kumalo reflects on the abuse she says she suffered at the hands of Dingaan Thobela.

The former boxing world champion known as “Rose of Soweto” was found dead at his flat in Mayfair, Johannesburg, on Monday, 29 April, after battling an illness.


The businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo is candid about her reported abusive relationship with boxing champion Dingaan Thobela, her miscarriages and more.

She tells Power 98.7 that her former boyfriend, Thobela, beat her up and once pulled out a gun. He aimed the gun at her head and said, “he would kill me” if she tried to leave him.

“I had to tell that part of my life. Gender-based violence is rife in the country. It was very important for me to own that part of my life and give hope that I walked away. The best thing is to seek help, speak to church leaders and speak to relatives.”

She also reveals that she was ashamed when she was asked why she didn’t open a case against Thobela.

“I was a public figure. When I told my parents, I knew for sure I had to leave. I knew what love was because my father loved me. If someone says they love you, but they beat you, it just doesn’t add up.”

The former Miss South Africa 1994 is today married to Romeo Kumalo. The pair celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary and 26 years together in 2023.

She tells the radio station that she married her best friend [Romeo Kumalo]: “I married a decent human being; I married a man who believes in me”, she adds.


The former world boxing champion, Dingaan Thobela, told Sowetan twelve years after his breakup with Basetsana Kumalo that he still loved her.

He also told the publication in 2009, ahead of the launch of his book Rose of Soweto: The Dingaan Thobela Story, that Kumalo would always have a special place in his heart.

“Though I have moved on, my heart is still with her. But I am very happy where I am. It is hard to get her out of my mind. I made a lot of contribution to what she is today,” he said.

When she was approached for a comment, the former Miss South Africa told the publication at the time that she was not interested in the book.

It is reported Thobela was 28 years when he started dating 16-year-old Kumalo in 1990. The pair reportedly broke up three years after she won the Miss SA in 1994.

Thobela was separated from his common-law wife, Sandra, at the time of his death. They have two children together, Ntombi and Dingaan Thobela Junior.