Award-winning journalists Marecia Damons and Daniel Steyn are set to release their compelling joint project “The Thabo Bester Story: The Facebook rapist, the Celebrity Doctor and the Escape from Cell 35” on October 27.
This book is based on their investigative reporting for GroundUp News, which initially broke the story about the alleged death of the convicted rapist and murderer, Thabo Bester.
The book delves into a high-profile and sensational case involving Thabo Bester and the circumstances surrounding his alleged death and escape from a privately run prison Mangaung Correctional Centre, in Bloemfontein.
The journalists' investigation revealed that Bester operated a business from prison, participated in a luxury event via video conference while dressed in a suit, and was spotted shopping with his girlfriend Dr Nandipha Magudumana at Woolworths, in Sandton City.
Damons and Steyn have gathered compelling evidence challenging the official narrative of Bester's death by suicide in a prison fire.
They suggest that the body found in the cell was not Bester's and that he had indeed managed to escape from the prison.
Furthermore, Damons and Steyn obtained an audio file with Bester's voice, which was recorded months after his supposed suicide in a fire in Mangaung Prison.
Their investigation provided compelling evidence that the body found in the prison cell was not that of Thabo Bester, contradicting the official denials from Correctional Services and G4S security, the private company responsible for running the prison.
This story led to the duo winning SANEF Nat Nakasa Award for Courageous Journalism. The Nat Nakasa Awards, which recognises courage, fearlessness, and an unyielding commitment to journalism, were held in Sandton, on September 16.
This award not only honours Damons and Steyn but also serves as a testament to the commitment of the entire GroundUp News team.
“Adding ‘Award-winning journalist’ to all of my bios 📝,” shared Domans on her Instagram page.
“Incredibly honoured to be the winner of the SANEF Nat Nakasa Award for Courageous Journalism alongside Daniel Steyn for our work on the Thabo Bester prison escape story.
“A massive thank you to Nathan Geffen, Barbara October, and James Stent for guiding and supporting us throughout this investigation. This is a win for the entire GroundUp News team!”
Equally proud of his immense effort and dedication that went into their investigative work on the Thabo Bester saga, Steyn expressed his gratitude for the well deserve recognition.
“Still feels unreal… so honoured to have won the SANEF Nat Nakasa award for Courageous Journalism with @marecializelle for our work on the Thabo Bester saga,” he wrote.
“Since joining @groundup_news in November last year, this has truly become the most eventful year of my life. Thank you to Nathan, Barbara and the editors at GroundUp, as well as James Stent for playing a vital role in our investigation.
“The Thabo Bester Story: The Facebook rapist, the Celebrity Doctor and the Escape from Cell 35” will be available at all major bookstores nationwide on October 27.