After topping charts on both Showmax and Twitter, Rosemary’s Hitlist set a new record for the most first-day views on Showmax of any documentary series, ahead of true-crime phenomena like Devilsdorp and Steinheist.
The reviews have been glowing, with IOL calling Rosemary’s Hitlist “a true-crime documentary that will make your blood run cold”, The South African saying the four-part series “had viewers’ jaws on the floor”, and Cape Talk labelling the Showmax Original “easily the most gripping crime story since Devilsdorp…”
Ndlovu was sentenced in 2021 to six concurrent life terms for the murders of six members of her family, including her sister and the father of her only living child at the time. They were allegedly murdered for killsurance: funeral cover payouts 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.
Today’s jaw-dropping finale claims that Ndlovu had taken out 28 other funeral insurance policies – including on her mother and her brother. The finale also reveals that Sergeant Keshi Mabunda was investigating Ndlovu for the alleged murder of her first child, Jaunty Khoza, who died of unnatural causes in 2008, age 13 – leaving his mother with a R12 000+ payout as the only remaining beneficiary of his father, Hand Khoza, Ndlovu’s deceased first husband.
“I was supposed to go back to the grave and dig him up and do the exhumation but looking at how she was sentenced, I said, ‘Okay, it’s fine,’” says Mabundla in the fourth and final episode of Rosemary’s Hitlist. “I was thinking about the family. To go and dig up their child again, I thought it wasn’t going to sit well with the family.”
Ndlovu has been charged with two counts of attempted murder for plotting to kill Mabundla and Colonel Nthipe L Boloka, her station commander at Tembisa South police station – while she was already in prison. She pleaded not guilty.
In February 2023, Ndlovu was back in court again: she and her co-accused, another ex-cop, Nomsa Mudau, pled not guilty to charges of conspiring to murder Mudau’s ex-husband, Justice.
Both trials are ongoing.
Insurance consultant Edward Siweya believes Ndlovu’s case may not be the last example of ‘killsurance’ we see. “So far I have not seen any movement towards closing the loophole,” says Siweya in the finale. “We need reform. My view is that in the event that there is a lack of reform we might as well expect another case in the near future and more lives will be lost as a result.”
In a statement at the end of Rosemary’s Hitlist, The a**ociation for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) says, “By December 2022, there were some 5.8m funeral insurance policies in South Africa. The forensic departments of these companies reported a total of four cases where the policy beneficiary was involved in the policy holder’s death. There is now a greater drive by the industry to partner with law enforcement agencies and regulators to ensure that criminals are brought to book.”
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.
For everyone who is still processing Ndlovu’s so-crazy-it-has-to-be-true story, Showmax has now launched the trailer for a four-part official companion podcast, made in partnership with True Crime South Africa, which consistently charts as South Africa’s most popular true-crime podcast.
“Of the hundreds of South African crime cases I have researched and covered, I honestly feel like Rosemary’s crimes are some of the most heinous I’ve seen,” says co-host Nicole Engelbrecht, dubbed ‘SA’s true-crime queen’ by Woman and Home. Engelbrecht is the founder of True Crime South Africa and author of Samurai Sword Murder: The Morné Harmse Story. “No matter how many episodes you get of a documentary of this calibre, you are left wanting more and with unanswered questions.”
True-crime YouTuber Mfundo Ndala, who co-hosts the Rosemary’s Hitlist podcast, praises the documentary series as “a great example of the high quality of journalism that exists in South Africa” and says the podcast is “an indepth look into many of the themes and topics explored in the documentary.”
The Rosemary’s Hitlist podcast builds on the success of Engelbrecht’s award-winning collaboration with Showmax on the companion podcast for Devilsdorp, which topped the Apple podcast charts in South Africa. They also collaborated on a companion podcast for Stella Murders, which became the second most popular true-crime podcast in South Africa – behind only True Crime South Africa.
Binge Rosemary’s Hitlist: https://stories.showmax.com/za/originals/rosemarys-hitlist
Listen to the trailer for Rosemary’s Hitlist companion podcast here: https://iono.fm/e/1328178