Slain journo had tried to help stalker
Shadi Rapitso arranged psychological aid for her alleged killer, writes Fred Kockott
SLAIN TV journalist Shadi Rapitso had arranged for a psychologist to visit the man so obsessed with her that he allegedly killed her on Friday after she had continued to turn down his advances.
Gauteng police spokesman Superintendent Eugene Opperman said Rapitso’s throat had been slit by a man allegedly claiming to be her boyfriend.
He said her assailant had then stabbed himself in the chest.
“He’s under police guard in hospital,” said Opperman.
Colleagues of Rapitso said the killing had happened while she was preparing to go out to complete her first investigative documentary for e.tv’s 3rd Degree where she had recently started working as a senior producer.
“Friday was going to be her debut as a producer – it was the final shoot, the big moment of the story, the exposé, but she did not arrive,” said 3rd Degree executive producer Debora Patta.
“It was weird that Shadi had not turned up. She was very reliable. We tried to contact her. Someone else answered her phone, but would only say: ‘She’s no longer with us. She’s no longer with us’.
“It was all so incoherent, so we went to see what was going on. That’s when we discovered what had happened.”
Patta said colleagues had not known Rapitso had been harassed by a man for weeks.
“She was not the kind of person who brought her personal issues to work,” said Patta.
“She was always so serene and calm. None of us had any idea she was having problems with this guy.”
Close friend Tankiso Komane said the alleged killer had been phoning Rapitso, visiting her flat, proposing to her, “sometimes five times a day, 10 times day”.
“She was engaged, planning to get married later this year, but this did not stop the guy. His obsession got so bad that Shadi even arranged for a psychologist to come and see him.
“On Wednesday, I was at her flat when he came round again, begging her and crying uncontrollably, saying he’d rather die if he could not be with her,” said Komane.
“I’m still trying to make sense of this. Shadi was so different in her heart from other people – the kind of person who was born to bring a smile to people’s faces.”
Speaking on the phone from the Rapitso family home in Mabopane, outside Pretoria, Rapitso’s fiancée, Zynne Sintu, said he and her family were battling to accept that Shandi was dead.
“We just can’t imagine her not being around anymore,” said Sintu.
“We were planning to get married in December or January. She told me about this guy who kept calling and said it had made her feel very uncomfortable. But we did not think anything serious could happen like this.”
Patta said her team was devastated by what had happened.
“Shadi was such a humble, elegant and compassionate woman – and a very good writer and brave journalist. If she was investigating a story about conditions in hostels, she would go out and spend the night in one of them. She had the makings of a great television producer.”