Cougar mom: I still care for him


The house is a lot smaller than the one she lived in before her life came crashing down. It’s crammed with furniture, which makes it look even smaller. Manda Reyneke sits on one of the leather couches, smiling.

If you didn’t know any better you could easily believe she’s a regular housewife.

Instead she’s at the centre of a scandal that has made headlines in SA and elsewhere. It led to her conviction for conspiring to assault rugby player Deon Helberg (now 22) who stole first her daughter’s heart and then her own.

By her side is Jalien, the 21-year-old daughter who forgave her mother for her act of betrayal, and Tannie Manda (48), as she has become known, knows how lucky she is.

She also knows the relationship she and Jalien had will never be the same again. But Jalien says she can’t stay angry forever and her mother will always be her mother.

She’s tired of taking all the blame, Manda says. She’s adamant that if the responsibility were shared she’d be happy to move on and out of the glare of the media.

But Deon hasn’t acknowledged anything. “The devastating effects of our affair aren’t part of his daily existence – they never were,” she says.

Read more of Sulaiman Philip’s interview with Manda and Jalien in YOU 28 June 2012.

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