Content warning: This post contains accounts of violence that may be distressing.
It was December, 1994, and 27-year-old Alison Botha had returned to her apartment after dropping her friend Kim home.
That day had been idyllic. She had spent the afternoon at the beach with friends in Port Elizabeth, one of the largest cities in South Africa. Afterwards, everyone had gone back to Alison’s apartment to eat pizza and play Balderdash.
The tall brunette had been head girl at her high school. She was confident and well spoken. After travelling for a number of years, Alison was working as an insurance broker, a job which she enjoyed.
That night, she had promised to drop Kim home afterwards, and now it was around 1am on Sunday morning.
Alison discovered she had lost her very convenient car spot right outside her apartment, and searched for another within walking distance.
Then, she found it. There was a space under a big tree; big enough to block the street lights on an already poorly lit road.
She was looking forward to getting into bed after a cool shower, and so pulled in and reached over to get her clean laundry out of the passenger seat to bring upstairs.
That’s when she felt a gust of warm air.
The car door had been flung open, and standing before her was a scrawny but tall young man with blonde hair.
Immediately, Alison spotted the knife.
“Move over or I’ll kill you,” the man said to her in a low, matter-of-fact voice. She did exactly what he said.
He climbed into the driver’s seat, and put his foot on the accelerator. After a few moments he assured her, “I don’t want to hurt you I just want to use your car for an hour.” At that point, Alison chose believed him.
She considered jumping out of the moving car, but found herself frozen. She begged the man, who called himself Clinton, to take the car and leave her. But he refused.
He had something he needed to do. Someone owed him money. He wouldn’t be long.
Clinton drove them to one of the main streets in Port Elizabeth and spotted the person he was frantically looking for. He told him – a man who he called Theuns – to jump in, and meet his new friend, Alison.
The three drove to the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, an entirely deserted area her family had always warned her to steer clear of.
What happened next was so violent, so unimaginably horrific, the details would be etched into the collective consciousness of South Africa for decades to come.
When they stopped in the bush, Alison knew something very bad was going to happen.
They told her they would have sex with her, and asked if she was going to fight. Alison, who had no idea how to fight, said no.
After the two men raped her, they attempted to suffocate Alison, at which point she became unconscious.
She was then stabbed upwards of 35 times, mostly in her abdomen. The two men assumed she was dead, but when her leg twitched, Theuns decided to cut her throat no less than 17 times.