Dr Nandipha Magudumana Biography
September 15, 1989
Bizana, Eastern Cape
|Alma mater||University of the Witwatersrand|
|Known for||Celebrity Doctor, |
Assisting Thabo Bester escape prison.
|Criminal charge||Aiding and abetting escape|
“murder of a number of bodies”,
violation of bodies,
|Criminal status||Arrested, under trial|
|Children||Aziza and Ayana|
|Relatives||Nkosinathi Sekeleni (brother)|
Dr. Nandipha Sekeleni Magudumana is a South African medical doctor and entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Optimum Med, a private medical practice in Bloemfontein. She is also a social media influencer and has over 150,000 followers on Instagram.
She is most known for having played a part in helping convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester escape prison in 2022.
Magudumana was born in Bloemfontein in 1989.
Dr. Nandipha Magudumana went to Port Edward Primary School and Port Shepstone High School for his secondary schooling.
Magudumana graduated from Wits University with a Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) in Biomedical Sciences and an Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB).
Ex-Husband and Family
Dr Nandipha married Vugo Magudumana and they had two children Aziza and Ayana, before they separated.
While still married to Vugo, Magudumana became involved with Thabo Bester. In a May 2022 application to the Pretoria High Court requesting Bester's supposed body, Magudumana claimed that she was Bester's customary wife.
Magudumana founded Optimum Medical Aesthetics, a skincare and cosmetic clinic in Sandton that focuses on non-surgical procedures such as chemical peels, hairline restoration, and botox. The business opened for operations in 2017.
Magudumana was honored and recognized for this, and was included in the 2018 Mail & Guardian list of the 200 most promising young South Africans.
Along with co-owning Arum Holdings, a company that specializes in healthcare consulting and IT services, she also operated another company called VitaPush.
Magudumana was a vocal advocate for women's empowerment and has spoken out against gender-based violence. She is also a member of the South African Medical Association and the Young Women's Christian Association.
Nandipha Magudumana's involvement with Thabo Bester
At some point before planning the escape, Magudumana became involved with Bester in a relationship. Besteer was serving a life sentence. G4S, the company operating the prison, told Parliament that Bester received regular visits from Magudumana, starting in 2017.
Magudumana is reported to have used Bester’s alias, "TK Nkwana" to book accommodation in Bloemfontein and Ballito (near Mangaung Correctional Centre) in the weeks leading up to the escape. More than R120,000 was spent on these bookings. At some of the places, she identified herself as "Dr Enjoy Magudumana Nkwana".
Bester's prison escape
According to police testimony during the bail hearing of the con-conspirators in Bester's escape, on 27 April Magudumana's father Zolile Sekeleni, hired a car from OR Tambo airport and used it to carry a corpse from National Hospital in Bloemfontein to Mangaung Correctional Centre. The corpse was smuggled into the prison inside a TV cabinet.
The police said the corpse had been claimed by Magudumana from the hospital on the pretext it was the child of an acquaintance’s brother. She then arranged a fake funeral for the body as the police later found three 10kg sacks of maize meal when they did an exhumation. The corpse's identity was confirmed by police to be that of Katlego Bereng who had gone missing in March 2022. His identity was confirmed by DNA tests against his mother.
Teboho Lipholo a former employee of Integriton, a company that installed and maintained the surveillance cameras at the Mangaung Correctional Centre, took the corpse from the TV cabinet and put it in Bester's prison cell on 2 May.
At around 3AM on 3 May, a fire was reported Bester's cell and after the fire was extinguished, a body was discovered and a conclusion was made that Bester had committed suicide. Bester escaped dressed in a prison warden uniform.
The prison warden and other officials at the prison were bribed by Bester who was using the alias "TK Nkwana", to facilitate the escape.
On the same day May 2022, the Department of Correctional Services announced that Bester was found dead in his cell. 
After the escape, the burned body was taken to the Free State mortuary where a post-mortem found that the person was dead before the fire broke out, from a head injury. It is still unclear how Bereng sustained the injury. On 5 May, Magudumana collected the body from the Free State mortuary again and took it to a mortuary in Soweto on the pretext that she was Bester’s customary law wife. But after the autopsy, police confiscated the body for further investigations. A woman, Maria Bester (also possibly Meisie Mabaso), who turned up claiming she was Bester’s biological mother, also tried to claim the body, but her DNA did not match the body’s.
On 19 May Magudumana approached the Pretoria High Court requesting that the body be returned to her. In her application, she detailed her relationship with Bester including details about lobola negotiations which resulted in their marriage.
SAPS confirmed in Parliament that 3 bodies were collected from the Free State mortuary by Magudumana, the third of which was the one found in Bester’s cell. Bereng’s family said they received conflicting accounts from police officers about how Bereng died. One police officer told them Bereng collapsed in Bloemfontein city centre and was taken to Pelonomi hospital, while another said he was injured and died in the hospital.
In her affidavits to claim the fake Bester corpse following his fake death in prison, claimed to have met Bester at university. However, this is disputed as Bester is said to have dropped out of school in grade 5 so this claim has been disputed.
After the escape
According to Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi Magudumana left South Africa via the Beitbridge border post into Zimbabwe on 9 May. She returned to South Africa on 12 May.
At some point Bester and Magudumana later stayed in a Hyde Park property.
Magudumana and Bester ran a scam construction company called “Arum Properties”. The two would convince people to pay them for construction projects but would not deliver. The couple reportedly made millions from the scam.
On 15 March 2023, GroundUp published an article questioning Bester's "death" on 3 May and detailing Magudumana's court case requesting for the body found after the fire.
On the day of the publication of the article, a photo was sent to GroundUp showing Bester and Magudumana shopping in Woolworths in Sandton City a month after Bester’s supposed death. GroundUp publishes it on the 16th of March
Re-arrest in Tanzania
On 7 April 2023, Magudumana was arrested in Tanzania along with Thabo Bester. Reports said the 2 were caught with several fake and unstamped passports and may have been attempting to flee onward to Kenya.
Magudumana was extradited to South Africa and is currently facing charges of aiding and abetting a prisoner escape.
Magudumana has denied the charges against her and has said that she was simply trying to help Bester get medical treatment.
Magudumana's father, Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, was subsequently arrested and charged with the murder of the person whose body was used to fake Bester's death.. Former security officer of GS4, the private prison company that operated the prison from where Bester escaped, Senohe Matsoara was also arrested and charged with aiding Bester's prison break. Also arrested and charged with the same was Teboho Lipholo a former employee of Integriton, a company that installed and maintained the surveillance cameras at the Mangaung Correctional Centre.
On 19 May 2023 Magudumana’s legal team filed papers in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein requesting that her arrest and “abduction” in Tanzania be declared “wrong and unlawful”. She also wanted to be released from prison immediately, and for a judge to declare all orders and warrants against her null and void. South African Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi condemned the attempt referring to the application as "ill-advised". 
Dr Nandipha and Thabo Bester were declared prohibited illegal immigrants according to the Immigration Law of Tanzania. They were therefore, as a matter of law, liable to be deported back to their country of origin.”
- Becker Semela, Nandipha Magudumana appears in court for first time, GroundUp, Published: 13 April 2023, Accessed: 27 May 2023
- Becker Semela and Daniel Steyn, Police testimony reveals how decoy body ended up in Thabo Bester’s cell, GroundUp, Published: 12 May 2023, Accessed: 27 May 2023
- Daniel Steyn and Marecia Damons, Thabo Bester saga: Police fail to collect evidence of Magudumana’s Bloem trips, GroundUp, Published: 16 April 2023, Accessed: 27 May 2023
- Daniel Steyn and Becker Semela, Thabo Bester escape: did Nandipha Magudumana collect the same body from the same morgue twice?, GroundUp, Published:26 April 2023, Accessed: 27 May 2023
- Marecia Damons and Daniel Steyn, Did the Facebook rapist die in his cell? Or did he escape from prison?, GroundUp, Published: 15 March 2023, Accessed: 27 May 2023
- Becker Semela and Daniel Steyn, Thabo Bester escape: Many unanswered questions about the death of Katlego Bereng, GroundUp, Published:25 April 2023, Accessed: 27 May 2023
- Nandipha's father faces murder charges, enCA, Published: 11 April 2023, Accessed 27 May 2023
- Daniel Steyn and Marecia Damons, Thabo Bester and Dr Nandipha made millions from construction company, GroundUp, Published:29 March 2023, Accessed: 27 May 2023
- Andile Sicetsha Dr Nandipha arrested: Here are the charges she faces, Swisher Post, Published: 8 April 2023, Accessed: 27 May 2023
- Marecia Damons, Motsoaledi rubbishes Dr Nandipha’s court bid to have her arrest in Tanzania declared “unlawful”, GroundUp, Published:22 May 2022, Accessed 27 May 2023