Biographies of Famous South Africans
Special South Africans


Those who have inspired us. Those who have defined us.
Those who have shown us our common humanity.

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Alison Botha
Rape Survivor
1970 - ?

Alison Botha

'Like an apparition, conjured out of the darkness, a young man with light blond hair pushed his face into the car. I immediately spotted the knife. It was a long, thin weapon, almost like a letter opener, with a tapering blade. It felt cold and spiny as he pressed it to my neck. When he spoke his voice, which was quiet and controlled, sounded as though it emanated from a distant planet. But every word thudded into my skull.

"Move over or I'll kill you," he whispered.'

And so began Alison's nightmare journey with the two callous killers who were to rape her, stab her so many times doctors could not count the wounds, slit her throat 16 times and leave her for dead in a filthy clearing miles from the city of Port Elizabeth which was her home.

But Alison defied death. And more than that, she denied her attackers the satisfaction of destroying her life. The courage which allowed her to move beyond severe physical and emotional trauma and to turn a devastating experience into something life-affirming and strong, is an inspiration to people everywhere.

The Noordhoek Ripper trial, as it was called, captured the country's interest with its confessions of Satanism and its exposure of random evil. One of the first South African rape survivors to speak to the media, Alison has in recent years spoken to thousands of people around the country and abroad. Alison's story "I HAVE LIFE - Alison's Journey", was one of the first books of its kind to be published in South Africa, a country where rape statistics are among the highest in the world and is an invaluable survival guide. It has been classified as a best-seller in South Africa and has continued to be so since publication.

I HAVE LIFE - Alison's JourneyAlison has been speaking on the professional speaking circuit for several years. Her aim to 'make a difference' has been overwhelming as she has spoken to countless thousands of people which include large business corporations, women and social groups as well as several schools. She has addressed international audiences in over 20 different countries including the USA, Australia, Europe, Asia and Africa. Audiences sit in rapt attention as Alison speaks of the brutally cruel torture to which she was subjected and how she has overcome the challenge of that experience by applying her own ABC - Attitude, Belief and Choice. You learn to recognise the importance of attitude at all times. You will gain insight into the power of belief in yourself and you will share of the freedom and responsibility of making choices, no matter what happens in your life.

Alison wrote another book: "For the tough times: Alison's Survivors".

After the September 2001 terror attacks in New York, she gave motivational speeches to some of the survivors. Among her awards are the Rotarians' Paul Harris Award for Courage, Citizen of the Year in 1995 from her home town, Port Elizabeth and Femina's first Woman of Courage award in 1995.

Alison married Tienie Botha in February 1997 and on 14 November 2003 she gave birth to a 3.56kg baby boy.



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