Parents say Richter was their son-in-law

THE parents of Zulu dancer Celiwe Mbokazi said they knew the man she is convicted of killing as their "good" son-in-law.

THE parents of Zulu dancer Celiwe Mbokazi said they knew the man she is convicted of killing as their "good" son-in-law.

They told Sowetan that he was very good to them and their daughter.

The couple were speaking from their home in Maqhwakazi village near Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal.

Their daughter was yesterday found guilty of murdering her husband, Franz Richter. The tourism mogul, who owned the Heia Safari Ranch, Aloe Ridge Hotel and other properties around the country, was gunned down in 2007.

Richter's daughter, Gaby Burgmer, and son, Alex Richter, have denied that their father had an affair with Mbokazi or had married her.

"As far as I know she was a domestic in that house. She cleaned and dusted stuff," said Burgmer during the trial.

She dismissed any suggestion that the relationship could have been intimate. But police evidence-in-chief and dockets referred to him as her husband.

In an interview before yesterday's verdict, the family confirmed that the two were a couple.

But Celiwe's father, Ndluyamandla Mbokazi, said they were introduced to Richter by "another kind white person only known to us as Steward, who lived in the area and spent a lot of his time in the village".

"He is the one who invited Richter here to fetch Zulu dancers. They fell in love as soon as they met," Ndluyamandla said.

"He did not waste time asking for her hand here in the 1990s and she moved in with him at the Heia Safari in Johannesburg."

He said they had visited the couple at the safari and spent some time with them.

"We know her to be his wife. Our chief, Sam Zulu, knows about the marriage as he would also give permission for Richter to come and fetch dancers," Ndluyamandla said.

He said his family would "appreciate it if the Richter children would acknowledge Celiwe and give her what is due to her".

"As his wife she is entitled to some of his wealth. She gave 20 years of her life to him," Celiwe's mother Buyile said.

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