A trail of killings. One beneficiary.
Showmax has just dropped the trailer for Rosemary’s Hitlist, a Showmax Original true-crime documentary series about cop-turned-serial-killer Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu.
Rosemary’s Hitlist is produced by IdeaCandy, the company behind the SAFTA-winning true-crime sensation Devilsdorp, and directed by Valen’tino Mathibela (the first season of The Real Housewives of Durban, Lebo M – Coming Home), with SAFTA winner Richard Gregory (Steinheist) as a consulting director.
On 12 October 2015, Ndlovu’s live-in lover, Yingwani Maurice Mabasa, the father of her only living child at the time, went missing. Three days later, his body was found in Olifantsfontein – with 76 stab wounds. Mabasa had 16 policies in his name, totalling over R400,000 – and Ndlovu was the beneficiary of all of them…
These weren’t the first payouts from suspicious deaths to Ndlovu. She was eventually sentenced in 2021 to six concurrent life terms for the murders of not only Mabasa, but also five of her family members: her sister, two nephews, a niece and a cousin. Together, their killsurance was worth over R1.4-million to Ndlovu.
Ndlovu was also sentenced to an additional 30 years: 10 years each for fraud, incitement to commit murder, and the attempted murder of her mother, Maria Mushwana, her sister Joyce, and Joyce’s five children.
Handing down the judgment, Judge Ramarumo Monama compared Ndlovu to the 1932 murder case of Daisy de Melker, saying South Africa hadn’t seen anything else similar in the last 89 years.
Rosemary’s Hitlist moves between New Forest Village in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, where Ndlovu grew up, and Tembisa, where she was paid to serve and protect. The four-part documentary also has extraordinary footage from her trial, where much of the media commentary was about how much Ndlovu seemed to be enjoying the attention.
Rosemary’s Hitlist speaks to those closest to the case, including investigating officer Sergeant Keshi Mabunda and Colonel Nthipe L Boloka, her station commander at Tembisa South police station – both of whom Ndlovu was accused of trying to assassinate from within prison.
Other interviewees include Ndlovu’s prosecutor, Advocate Riana Williams, and Everson Luhanga, Scrolla Africa’s editor at large, who originally broke the story, as well as family members of both Ndlovu and Mabasa, their landlord, and her former school teacher.
The story felt close to home for Mathibela because she also grew up in a village and has cousins who work in Bushbuckridge. “We feel safe around men and women in blue and even safer around family members. The last thing we expect is for them to plot to kill us,” says Mathibela. “Even if you followed the court case, the twists we found in this documentary will shock you. She really is a larger-than-life character in a stranger-than-fiction story; you could never script this stuff.”
Ndlovu is back in court this year on new charges; in February 2023 she and her co-accused, another ex-cop, Nomsa Mudau, pled not guilty to charges of conspiring to murder Mudau’s ex-husband, Justice.
Rosemary’s Hitlist premieres first on Showmax on 14 June 2023, with new episodes on Thursdays.