In Rosemary’s footsteps: YOU reporter takes a chilling walk in neighbourhood of murdered Clovelly woman

By admin
11 October 2013

In our regular behind-the-scenes blog, journalist Almari Wessels talks about working on a story about Rosemary Theron, a clown and stilt walker of Clovelly, Cape Town, who was murdered, allegedly by her daughter, Phoenix Racing Cloud.

When I get to the gravel road I experience a strong sense of malice. We’re in Clovelly, near Fish Hoek, nearing the house where the murdered Rosemary Theron (39), a clown and stilt walker, lived.

Is it the large, grotesque mask on the stoep of the dilapidated house on the hillside that makes me uncomfortable, the clothing and motorcycle lying to our left like forgotten goods under the bushes, or the rundown house next door that seems to have no front door? The five dogs on this property don’t stop barking.

I go to a neighbour’s well-looked-after house and knock on the door. Yes, Rosemary’s former house is the one next door, the one without a front door and with the barking dogs. And that explains the macabre feeling, because Rosemary was buried nearby, allegedly by her daughter, Phoenix Racing Cloud Theron (19), and Phoenix’s boyfriend, Kyle Maspere (18), after he had allegedly strangled her with a length of rope.

Rosemary's house

Phoenix and Kyle lived here for four months after Rosemary’s disappearance, supposedly while desperately searching for her. Meanwhile Rosemary, well known in entertainment circles, was dead.


We leave the abandoned house and I return to the office to see if I can find people who knew Rosemary. My search results in conversations with a host of colourful characters while I look for an exclusive angle for a YOU story. Eventually her half-brother, Stephen Theron, also a free-thinker and entertainer, agrees to meet us.

He’s a charming, pleasant man and veteran hippie who was close to his sister. Stephen is only 43, but you can see this former anti-apartheid activist and on-and-off farmer has experienced all the sorrow and euphoria of a few lifetimes in his four decades.

Stephen Theron

And now this; his sister might have been murdered by her daughter. When I ask him about Rosemary, he’s silent for a while as he thinks, then the words stream out.

“It’s too much for me to process,” he says.

What he says is gripping and heartbreaking. Then she was strangled, allegedly by someone she knew, and her death was concealed and her body lay underground for months before being uncovered.

Malice isn’t even the word . . .

Rosemary Theron: clown, stilt walker, entertainer and free spirit

Read journalist Almari Wessels’ interview with Stephen Theron in the latest issue of YOU (17 October), on sale from today.

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