Portrait of a stone-faced baby-killer

By Nalisha Kalideen Time of article published Jul 28, 2004

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This is the face of the devil personified. Cold and stony. Angry eyes. Pursed lips that only open to answer questions that require more than a shake of the head.

This is William Kekana, pathological liar, killer, rapist, coward and kidnapper. And he's only 20.

On Tuesday, Kekana sat impassively in the dock listening to Judge Monica Leeuw's comments before she sentenced him to six life sentences and 60 years in jail for crimes that included murder, abduction and rape. He was, the judge declared, "the real reincarnation of the devil himself - the devil personified".

Judge Leeuw had found Kekana guilty on 14 charges, including the murder of Hester Rawstone, 52, Janine Drennan, 24, and her one-year-old baby Kayla.

He was also convicted in the Temba Circuit Court, north of Pretoria, of the abduction, rape and attempted murder of a 17-year-old girl at Stinkwater, the rape of Drennan, and aggravated robbery. But Kekana does not want to go to jail. Asked why he said: "While in jail, I'm dead."

He will be in prison for a minimum of 25 years, after which he will qualify for parole - but as long as he is considered a danger he will not be released.

The judge stated during sentencing that Kekana had been "arrogant and remorseless" throughout his testimony.

When he spoke, he served only to tie himself in knots until he could not escape his own contradictions. Occasionally he glowered at the prosecutor, Dewald Reynierse, when he made these contradictions obvious. "I am sorry for this (killing)," Kekana said.

Reynierse said: "I'm not asking if you are sorry but if you would have gone back to killing again (if you had not been caught)." Kekana said: "I'm saying I wouldn't have gone out killing, because I'm not a killer."

At the start of argument in mitigation and aggravation of sentence, he had admitted his guilt and apologised to the Rawstone family - a confession he seemed not to have considered when he denied he was a killer.

Kekana said in mitigation of sentence: "I committed crimes for money. It was not my intention to kill or rape."

Reynierse asked: "But instead you rape a mother, kill her one-year-old baby, and all that for two rings and a cellphone?"

Then Kekana said he would not answer the questions Reynierse put to him. He later said to Reynierse: "In this case you're a white man, I'm a black man. I forgive you."

But when asked to explain himself, Kekana said he was "referring to the apartheid era".

Judge Leeuw was also shocked, and interrupted Kekana, asking him to explain himself again. He then said that Drennan, baby Kayla and Rawstone had been killed because they where white.

"Did you say you killed and raped a white lady and killed her child because of apartheid?" Judge Leeuw asked.

"Well, after the old lady (Rawstone) answered her cellphone in the car, she was shot. Thereafter we did everything we did because they were white," Kekana said.

Reynierse asked Kekana why he then had hijacked, raped and attempted to kill a black girl. He said that was "done upfront" and he had not intended it.

Judge Leeuw said: "These arguments, especially the apartheid issue, are a sublime piece of nonsense. It tells me that he has this sense of entitlement. South Africa does not need a young man like the accused. Not now, and not in a long time."

Kekana's father Herbert, a police officer, sat with his head in his hands. He seemed more emotional than his son, who was unmoved as Judge Leeuw characterised him as "selfish, cruel and sadistic".

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