Who is Thabo Bester? Everything to know about the South African fugitive

Who is Thabo Bester? Everything to know about the South African fugitive

Thabo Bester is the most wanted criminal in South Africa as of April 2023, after successfully escaping prison and faking his death in 2022. His story has shocked the country, begging questions about Thabo Bester's biography. How did he get here? Let's fill the gaping holes in his story and past.

Thabo Bester'sprofiles
Mabaso lives in fear because of what her son did. Photo: @Ishmael Stix Khaeli (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Thabo Bester was believed to have died by self-immolation in his prison cell and was at large for a year until a new post-mortem investigation revealed that the body found was not his. Following this revelation, a manhunt was launched last month. Bester's escape has caused uproar in South Africa, a country with one of the highest rates of assaults globally.

Thabo Bester's profile summary and bio

Full name Thabo Bester
Nickname Thomas Motsepe
Place of birth Gauteng in Johannesburg, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
Hair colourBlack
Eye colourDark brown
Marital statusMarried (unconfirmed)
Partner Dr Nandipha Mogudumana
Famous as The Facebook abuser
MotherMaria Mabaso

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Thabo Bester's age and real name

In an interview, his mother confirmed his birth name as Thabo Bester. His exact age and date of birth are yet to be confirmed. Some sources allege he is 35 years as of April 2023. Thabo Bester has South African nationality.

Thabo Bester's parents

In the same interview, Maria Mabaso, Thabo Bester's mother, revealed gripping details about her son and their strained relationship. According to Mabaso, the man who fathered her son had defiled her. She painfully uttered,

That is a heavy case. My cousin and I were going to [visit] my sister. But the bus left us, and we asked [someone] for a lift.
When we were near our road, that man nearly killed me; he assaulted me. Luckily I did not die. That is how Thabo was born.

Circumstances thrust Mabaso into being a single mother who had to work constantly. Therefore, she entrusted her mother with raising her then-one-year-old son. That changed the dynamics of the relationship between Mabaso and her mother, and when she got to her breaking point, she left, never to return.

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Thabo Bester's grandmother died when he was in his teenage years, and Mabaso's efforts to try and locate him bore no fruit. She regrets not giving him up for adoption to an Indian couple from Lenasia.

Thabo Bester's house
Bheki Cele announced the fugitive's arrest on 8th April 2023. Photo: @Aluta_Continua6 (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Thabo Bester's father

During the interview, Mabaso did not reveal details regarding her son's paternity despite tweeps alleging that he is Ananias Mathe.

What did Thabo Bester do?

The confirmation of Bester's escape from prison sent shockwaves across South Africa. He became infamous for his criminal activities and con artistry, which earned him a new name, the Facebook abuser. His escape was accomplished through a deception staged as his death.

Before his incarceration, he had been found guilty of several crimes, including murder and defilement charges committed against women he had met via Facebook. He was convicted in 2012 for assaulting and killing Nomfundo Tyhulu, his model girlfriend. In 2011, he was found guilty of robbing and defiling two other women. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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Thabo Bester was sighted in a shopping mall in March 2023. The allegation was one of the many reported sightings in the past year, mainly in Johannesburg and the rented mansion where he lived.

What happened to Thabo Bester?

On 3rd May 2022, it was reported that he had died in his cell due to what was believed to have been a fire breakout. However, authorities started raising eyebrows about his death late last year. In March 2023, the police launched an investigation after further tests revealed the wanted criminal was not deceased.

G4S employees who ran the prison he was being held in have been accused of aiding in the escape. Allegedly three employees were dismissed after the fire breakout.

Thabo Bester's arrest

Thabo Bester and his lover, Dr Nandipah Magudumana, were arrested on Friday, 7th April 2023. The two were nabbed in Tanzania, 10 km away from the Kenyan border.

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Bheki Cele broke the news during a briefing, saying the couple was arrested alongside a Mozambican believed to be their aide. The Mozambican is insinuated to have facilitated the couple's two-week run. This comes after news of the fugitive's audacious escape from the Mangaung Correctional Centre made headlines in 2022.

According to the police minister, Interpol and Crime Intelligence had been working on the case. They are said to have spotted Dr Nandipha and Thabo Bester leaving a hotel in a black SUV.

During the arrest, they recovered various passports in their possession. The police minister went further to state the couple's movements were not clear, although he affirmed that they had gotten into Tanzania illegally since their passports had no stamps, and they were headed for the next country.

Bheki Cele also revealed that a team would be dispatched to Tanzania on Sunday, 9th April 2023, to process their return to South Africa.

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Thabo Bester's biography
The fugitive was at large after faking his death in May 2023. Photo: @Get it Right With Rea (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Thabo Bester's crimes

Earlier in the day, Bheki Cele updated the public on a murder case being investigated. According to a DNA analysis of the body that was found in Bester's cell and used to cover his escape, it was not Bester's. The autopsy revealed that the deceased died due to blunt-force trauma to his head and was already dead before Thabo's cell was set ablaze.

Thabo Bester's wife

Bester has been linked to Dr Nandipha Magudumana, the celebrity doctor. Dr Nandupha was married to Mkhuseli Magudumana, and they allegedly share two daughters. However, Thabo's mother added another twist to the story when she alleged that her son sired Dr Nandipha's daughters.

According to a publication, the doctor was his customary wife. She married Mkhuseli Oscar Magudumana in 2013, a pediatric doctor based in Benoni. Dr Nandipha ran a clinic, Optimum Medical Aesthetic Solutions, in Sandton.

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Thabo Bester's escape from prison sparked outrage in the country. His re-arrest brings a new twist to the story.

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Priscillah Mueni avatar

Priscillah Mueni (Lifestyle writer) Priscillah Mueni is a lifestyle and entertainment content creator with more than 4 years of experience. She graduated from Meru University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering in 2019. In 2023, Priscillah finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. She has been writing articles on Briefly.co.za since 2019. Email: pshmueni@gmail.com

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