Magesh ready to sing again

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei


Tokollo "Magesh" Tshabalala has danced his way out of a prison term in Botswana.

The kwaito singer was acquitted of all charges in the Village magistrate's court in Gaborone, Botswana, on Friday by magistrate Lot Moroka.

Tshabalala had been on trial for causing a death by dangerous driving, the equivalent of culpable homicide in South Africa.

For years Tshabalala had avoided going to Botswana to stand trial, fearing that he would be sentenced to death.

After his acquittal on Friday, he said he now intended to focus on his music career, which took a knock after the accident in 2001.

Outside court Tshabalala smelled freedom and immediately wanted to take off with friends. But his father, Screamer Tshabalala, would have none of that and almost got physical with his son. He screamed at Tokollo in front of journalists and photographers, saying it was inappropriate and unnecessary for him to go with his friends.

"These are the same people who never supported you, now you wanted to go with them," he said.

Tshabalala said his son had to grow up.

"What if something else happens here? He has to go home first and celebrate when he gets there,'' he said.

Moroka discharged Tshabalala on the grounds that he was not driving dangerously and that police omitted details of a kombi that was also involved in the accident in their report.

Moroka had accepted the evidence of witnesses Kebonye Tsiaka, Kenneth Dibotelo and Bissau Gaobakwe that Tokollo Tshabalala was indeed the driver of the car.

The singer's defence argued that he was not driving when the accident happened.

In his ruling Moroka said: "The evidence of the three witnesses puts the accused in the driver's seat."

But Moroka acquitted Tshabalala because of a lack of proof that he was driving dangerously. The magistrate said investigating officer Sergeant Moses Serumule had pursued one angle of the case and approached his duty with prejudice because he had stopped the BMW earlier in the day.

"This cannot be right. Whatever encounter the BMW had with the police earlier that morning is no factor in what caused the accident," Moroka said.

Moroka concluded that the state had charged the wrong man and that the driver of the kombi was supposed to have been in the dock and not the witness stand.