Rapper’s girlfriend said to have called people close to her, begging them to fetch her before stabbing
Sindisiwe Manqele (26) will take the stand this week to testify about why she felt she had to plunge a 10cm-long knife into the heart of her rapper boyfriend, Nkululeko “Flabba” Habedi.
Sources close to her legal team said the economics student, who is on trial for her lover’s murder, will tell the court that, on the night Habedi was killed, she made several distress calls to people close to her, begging them to fetch her from the nightclub where the two had been partying, and later from his home in Alexandra.
Phone records will form part of the evidence that sources say will prove she phoned her “driver”, a man whose services she often used, from The Sands nightclub in Sandton where the Skwatta Kamp rapper was to perform and where they began arguing after Manqele started chatting to another man.
The records also allegedly show that she called a close relative, begging to be fetched from Habedi’s house moments before he was stabbed in the heart.
Manqele’s testimony will also include her account of how he attacked her in his bedroom in the early hours of that Sunday morning.
“Sindi sustained bruises all over her body and medical experts will testify how they were inflicted,” said a source close to the defence.
“Sindi will also testify about what Habedi said to her – about how he had a complex about her being beautiful and well off financially, while he was no longer a rich man.
“She will tell the court how the argument started at the club when he saw her chatting to another man and became jealous – yet he was talking to other women.”
Manqele’s trial, which began in the South Gauteng High Court sitting at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court this past week, has sparked fierce reactions from his fans.
Manqele has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, claiming she acted in self-defence.
But before Manqele testifies, Habedi’s estranged wife, Mpho, will take the stand for the state from as early as tomorrow.
Habedi’s mother, Agatha, said Mpho – the mother of his two children – would tell the court what a gentle man he was and how he was never abusive towards her.
“He was a big man, but he was a gentle giant; I used to call him ‘my boy’. Now she wants to say he was abusive? He never was,” she said.
Manqele sat quietly, head covered, in court before acting Judge Solly Sithole, the state prosecutor, worked to disprove her claims that she killed her boyfriend in self-defence on March 9.
Besides hushed conversations with her lawyers, the most she said this week was “Yes, sir” when Sithole reminded her of her bail conditions.
Her silence has been contrasted with the fury of Habedi’s friends and fans in court.
On Thursday, after the testimony of state pathologist Thandi Mahuluhulu, who conducted Habedi’s autopsy, a group of five young women seated behind Manqele angrily discussed how they believed it was impossible for her to have been pulling away from her boyfriend and then stabbing him in self-defence.
Hearing this, Manqele shifted uneasily in her seat.
Agatha Habedi took the stand on Friday to testify about an SMS Manqele had sent to her son. She read the message out loud as Manqele looked straight ahead.
“I don’t even know why I trusted your cheating ass anyways ... and I hope you have fun telling your daughter how you f***ing cheated on a woman that was nothing but nice to all your family,” Agatha read, wiping away tears
She later told City Press: “I always saw her as a daughter. She was such a good person and, for the longest time after this thing happened, I believed it was all a mistake. She didn’t do this on purpose,” she said outside Court Number 1, tears streaming down her face.
“I wanted to believe that so badly, and now, after all this evidence, I’m afraid that the picture I have of her has changed.”
Agatha sat through Mahuluhulu’s testimony as the latter described how deeply the knife had penetrated her late son’s body and how it had cut through the hard surface of his fourth rib.
“There is no way it had been a mistake for her to have stabbed him so deeply,” she said.
Five other witnesses – Habedi’s brother, Tshepang, friends Nkululeko Chauke and Thapelo Sello, and two paramedics – testified for the state.
Tshepang Habedi spoke of the ill-fated couple’s on-off relationship. Sello testified that the couple began arguing after Manqele saw Habedi chatting to another woman.
Despite this, Manqele’s attorney, Amanda Vilakazi, is confident they will trump the prosecution this week.
“The state has been presenting circumstantial evidence, but there were only two people in that room that day and the burden of proof lies with them,” she said