Mzansi Profiles! Local,People Thabo Bester Biography: Background, Criminal Child, Modelling Scam, Prison Escape, Second Arrest

Thabo Bester Biography: Background, Criminal Child, Modelling Scam, Prison Escape, Second Arrest

Thabo Bester Biography: Background, Criminal Child, Modelling Scam, Prison Escape, Second Arrest post thumbnail image

Thabo Bester Biography: Background, Criminal Child, Modelling Scam, Prison Escape, Second Arrest

Thabo Bester is one of the most notorious criminals in South African history. In 2012, he was found guilty of raping two women and killing his girlfriend. In 2022, he escaped from Mangaung Maximum Security Prison by tricking people into thinking he died in a cell fire. He is called the ‘Facebook Rapist’ because he used social media to attract victims and trick them into thinking he was a modelling scout.

Thabo Bester has used 13 pseudonyms which include Thomas Bester, Tom Bester, Thabo Tom Bester, Tom Kelly, Thomas Kelly Bester, Thomas Berter, TK, Thomas Kelly Young, Kelly Young, Thomas Magagula, Thabo Magagula, Tom Motsepe, Kelly Johnstone, Rufus Mahopo and Tom Rufus Reddy.



Thabo Bester Background

Thabo’s mother, Maria Mabaso, gave birth to him after she was raped at 17. When he was just a baby, an Indian family expressed interest in adopting him, but his mother refused. Instead, Thabo was taken in by his grandmother Johanna Bester in Eikenhof at the tender age of one.

Things got even crazier when Thabo was only four – his grandpa Abel found him with a massive wad of cash! Thabo claimed it was given to him by a businesswoman named Nelléne Louw in Kibler Park. What was a little kid doing with so much money? The intrigue just keeps on building!

Thabo Bester, the man with a mystery age, is estimated to be around 41. He was born on 13 June. Thabo is the oldest of his siblings, with two brothers and a sister who sadly passed away.


Thabo Bester’s Teenage Years


Thabo Bester Biography

Thabo Bester Biography [Image: IOL/Mdeni Vilakazi]


Whenever Maria Mabaso visited her sick mother, who was living with Thabo, he was usually nowhere to be found. He was even convicted and jailed at the ripe old age of 17 for stealing from a family in Kibler Park. He was released into his mother’s custody.


Thabo Bester Adult Crime Career

The notorious Thabo Bester convinced young and hopeful models to give him their hard-earned cash by promising them the chance of a lifetime. With his silver tongue and crafty schemes, he gained their trust, only to disappear with all their possessions.

In 2009, he was convicted of fraud and served three years in prison. But his hunger for quick cash and his mother’s well-being pushed him back into his old ways. When asked about his thievery, he defended it as a necessity born from poverty and struggle.


Thabo Bester Arrest


Thabo Bester Biography

Thabo Bester Biography [Image: IOL/Brenton Geach]


In 2011, Thabo Bester pulled off a heinous scheme by masquerading as a well-connected scout and preying on models. He would lure them with the promise of career-making opportunities, only to rob them of all their possessions once he had their trust. He even went as far as hiring models and chartering a plane to Cape Town, using the name Tom Kelly.

He did not bother to pay for the plane, submitting fake proof of payment. To add insult to injury, he ran off with the photography equipment he had rented. Despite being captured on CCTV, he brazenly committed these crimes in luxurious hotels.

In a tragic turn of events in 2011, Thabo Bester’s criminal activity escalated to rape and robbery. During the same year, he bought a BMW from model and car saleswoman Nomfundo Tyhulu, who he later dated. But their relationship ended in horror when Bester brutally stabbed her to death at a bed and breakfast in Cape Town. Justice caught up with Bester the following year as he was arrested and handed a life sentence for his heinous crime.

Thabo Bester Running Scams From Jail

Thabo Bester, the convicted rapist and murderer, didn’t let prison bars stop him from living a life of deceit. He masterminded a cunning scheme under the guise of “Tom Motsepe,” a wealthy businessman related to billionaire Patrice Motsepe. He set up a fraudulent event company named 21st Century Media and boasted fake affiliations with prestigious international firms like 21st Century Fox and Sky Digital.

Bester even organised a swanky event in Johannesburg while pretending to be in New York. Still, his biggest lie was his promise to bring A-list celebrities like Halle Berry and Taraji P Henson to South Africa. Of course, he never delivered on these promises.

He roped in a gullible businesswoman to register his fake company, but she quickly severed ties once she discovered his true identity.


Prison Escape

On 3 May 2022, Thabo Bester escaped from Mangaung Correctional Centre with help from prison officials. A burnt body was found in his cell, and his partner, Dr Nandipha Magudumana, tried to claim it so she could cremate it to prevent identification. However, DNA tests proved the body wasn’t Bester’s after his mother went to collect his charred body, raising suspicions that he was still alive. Bester’s mother received threatening calls questioning why she did a DNA test.


Life After Prison And Exposure

Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha posed as a couple running a construction company, Arum Properties, and scammed people out of millions of rands. They even lured models and influencers to pose in their claimed renovated houses. They fled from a rented Sandton mansion in March 2023 after being exposed by a photo taken on 30 June 2022 at a local supermarket. A person recognised Dr Nandipha in the picture and sent it to a friend, who then leaked it to GroundUp.


Second Arrest In Tanzania


Thabo Bester Biography

Thabo Bester Biography [Image: The South African]


Thabo Bester was caught on Friday, 7 April, with his girlfriend and a third suspect in Tanzania by the local police. He was planning to cross the border into Kenya, and he had several passports with different names, and none of them was stamped.


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