York High School



Marecia Damons

Marecia Damons is an award-winning journalist at GroundUp News. She won the 2023 Nat Nakasa Award for Media Integrity for her work on the Thabo Bester prison escape story.

In October 2022, Marecia began investigating the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of convicted rapist and murderer Thabo Bester at Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein. Bester was believed to have died after a fire broke out in his prison cell in May 2022. His death was initially ruled as a suicide.

Her investigation provided compelling evidence that the body found in the prison cell was not that of Bester, contradicting the official denials from the Department of Correctional Services and G4S, the private security company running the prison. Alongside her colleague Daniel Steyn, Marecia’s reporting exposed corruption at Mangaung prison and forced authorities to lodge an investigation into Bester’s supposed death. 

It was later revealed that Bester had, in fact, escaped from prison and fled to Tanzania with his girlfriend Nandipha Magudumana. Several people have been arrested so far, including prison officials, and the matter is being heard in court. 

Marecia has always had a passion for writing since contributing to her primary school’s ‘In Touch’ magazine. Originally from George, she now lives in Cape Town. She holds both an Honours Degree in Journalism and a Bachelor’s Degree in Language and Culture from Stellenbosch University.

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