8 May 2023
South African true-crime documentary Imibuzo now streaming
“She’s beautiful; she’s really beautiful; she’s too beautiful for the crime she committed,” says Tshepang Habedi in the first episode of Imibuzo, a new true-crime documentary anthology on Showmax that started streaming today. “I didn’t expect it. I didn’t see her as that type of a woman.”
He’s talking about Sindisiwe Manqele, who was released on parole last year after serving eight years of a 12-year sentence for stabbing Tshepang’s brother, Nkululeko, to death.
Nkululeko, better known as Flabba from Skwatta Kamp, the multi-award-winning hip hop group, died at his home in Alexandra in the early hours of 9 March 2015, while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
Tshepang was not alone in his surprise: his cousin, Mpho Motsoari, who was also there that night, similarly didn’t see it coming. “They were happy together and she was a good person, I won’t lie,” says Mpho in Imibuzo. “I thought they’d get married as the years went by because they were deeply in love.”
Tshepang and Mpho were both in the room with Flabba after he was stabbed and before he passed away. “I last saw Nkuli alive like minutes, minutes, minutes before he passed away,” says Mpho. “I heard Sindisiwe screaming. I didn’t think I heard right at the time because it was at night and it was quiet. I went into the house running and I found her at the door and Nkuli was lying down. What surprised me was that Nkuli had no clothes on; he had taken off his jeans and shirt. He was only in his underwear, in a pool of blood. Sindi then put the knife down while she was crying hysterically.”
“I asked her what really happened, then she told me where she stabbed him,” says Tshepang. “She said it was a mistake. She was already crying. She was crying even before we arrived and realised that he was no more. And when the ambulance arrived she was still crying, hysterically. When she tried to hurt herself with a bottle, the police were already there: they handcuffed her after she tried to cut herself.”
Watch the trailer for Imibuzo
The episode also interviews Flabba’s fellow Skwatta Kamp rapper Siya Metane, better known as Slikour. He tells the group’s origin story from when they were all at school, and recalls his reaction to the news of Flabba’s passing, saying the only comparable moment in his life was when he heard the news about Riky Rick.
“It was early in the morning,” he remembers. “I got a call from Tshepang and I woke up the whole house because I was crying. I exploded in tears… I was defeated; I was defeated. My kids, you know, when your kids see their father crying… I think it’s one of those things that even when they think about Flabba, they associate it with me going through that. Do you know what I mean? When I talk about him, they’re like, ‘Oh, the guy that made you cry.’”
The episode also features Lindi Masinga, who covered the story for Africa News Network, and Amanda Vilakazi, Sindi’s attorney of record, who speaks to her client’s self-defence strategy.
Tshepang says Sindi’s claims during the trial surprised him. “It was weird, my feelings towards Sindisiwe while we were going to court. It was weird because here’s this person, who is practically family, who’s loved dearly in the family, and now, we are against her. It was quite weird. I had mixed emotions, you know, when Sindisiwe was in court, saying all the things that she was saying. That Flabba was violent and all that. I’ve never seen him being violent towards her in their relationship. That I didn’t see… Sindisiwe also shocked me with that one. But on the other side, what would you do? I would want to save my ass.”
The first episode also features footage from the funeral, news coverage of the trial, a Channel O interview with Flabba, and a nostalgic dose of Skwatta Kamp’s music videos to remind fans why they first fell in love with Flabba and the band.
Ultimately, questions remain. As Tshepang says, “It was just the two of them in that bedroom. Nobody else knows what happened.”
One thing is for certain though: Flabba is still missed.
“He was a family man,” says Tshepang. “He loved his family. And his child… He’s the one who could actually bring us all together as a family, and be a family. But now he’s no longer with us, we are scattered.”
“Flabba’s life was cut short,” says Mpho. “He still had a lot to offer in the music industry. He had just released his new single at the time, and it was big… He didn’t deserve to be taken so early. I would like Flabba to be remembered for all the right reasons. Through his music, because that’s how people know him, through music. And for the community and the people that were close to him and the things he did. He didn’t act like a celebrity; he got along with everyone in the community.”
Now streaming on Showmax, Imibuzo is a true-crime documentary anthology that will answer your lingering questions about some of South Africa’s biggest news stories from the last decade.
New episodes will drop every Monday until 10 July 2023, with the next two episodes focusing respectively on the murder of Tshegofatso Pule, who went missing in 2020 after visiting her boyfriend, Ntuthuko Shoba, and was found dead four days later, eight months pregnant; and the Enyobeni Tavern massacre, where 21 people died, many of them underage.
Imibuzo is being produced by POP24, part of Media24, who made the reality series This Body Works For Me, which topped the Showmax Top 20 and Twitter trends charts. POP24 also co-produced the SAFTA-nominated true crime anthology Huisgenoot: Ware Lewensdramas.
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