AFRICANS have a way of grabbing your attention..
Side by side, a father and his son stood waiting to hear their fate in the Johannesburg High Court yesterday.
The two "scheming" Alexandra rapists, Booi and Rodgers Makhubela, were sentenced to a combined 26 life terms in prison by Judge Roland Sutherland for raping 10 women between 2008 and 2009 under the pretence that they were taxi drivers.
Booi, 50, was sentenced to 14 life terms, while his son Rodgers, 26, was sentenced to 12 life terms.
When Sutherland started delivering the sentence Booi's 14-year-old daughter, who had calmly chatted to her father earlier, burst out crying.
She walked out of the courtroom and her wailing could be heard in the corridors until a court orderly went outside to speak to her.
In the courtroom, the two remained stone-faced as Sutherland condemned them to a life behind bars.
As a result of their crimes, Sutherland said, most of their victims' lives had taken a turn for the worse.
One by one, Sutherland described how each victim had been affected by the rape.
"One was bludgeoned severely and stabbed, and (she) is now scared to use a taxi and has nightmares. She finds it hard to have sexual intimacy.
"Another has contemplated suicide because the memories of her ordeal won't fade away," the judge continued.
Another woman has reportedly resorted to alcohol, resulting in her children being taken into care.
Another was left to raise six children on her own as her husband could not make peace with what had happened to her.
Sutherland also noted that Booi had a strong influence on his poorly educated son.
The duo's conduct towards women was deemed "barbaric" by Sutherland.
In addition to the life sentences Booi was sentenced to 15 years in prison on each of six charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and 10 years on each of nine kidnapping charges. He was also sentenced to seven years for assault.
Rodgers was further sentenced to 15 years each for robbery with aggravating circumstances, 10 years for each of eight kidnapping charges, 10 years for robbery and seven for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
The sentences will run concurrently.
One of their accomplices, Isack Nxumalo, is already serving a 20-year jail term after he confessed to the crimes.
Also charged separately is Booi's nephew, Collins Chauke, whose case is currently being heard in the Alexandra Regional Court.