Nolubabalo ‘Babsie’ Nobanda,30, a convicted drug mule who was arrested on December 12th, 2011 off a Qatar Airways flight at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport has finally returned to South Africa after serving her term. Police busted her with a 1.5kg of cocaine that had an estimated street value of $150000 stuffed in her artificial dreadlocks.
She was released after serving only seven years of a 15-year sentence for the crime. The news of her arrest made headlines in the media outlets.
Nobanda was met by her family at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Thursday, September 19th 2019.
She pleaded guilty and her 30-year sentence was reduced to 15 years after her co-operation with authorities in their probing.
Babsie, then aged 23, claimed that she was enticed by a friend who asked that she accompany her to Brazil to collect hair products for a Nigerian national living in South Africa. From there with 1.4kg of cocaine weaved into her dreadlocks, she was sent to deliver the narcotics to a customer at a hotel in Bangkok.
Vanessa Goosen, who was in the same Thai women’s jail some few years ago shared how had to readapt to life incarceration.
“It is not going to be easy for her. It made me think back when I returned to South Africa, my family and friends felt like strangers to me,
The fact that I had been cut off from the world for so many years and integrating back and not knowing what has been happening in the world – I felt very stupid. I had to learn how to use a cellphone, technology was a challenge for me” said Vanessa Goosen, Former Miss SA semi-finalist told 702.
“It’s good to be back home,” she told Enca news ” I want to thank all South Africans for their support over the past eight years It hasn’t been easy, but I just want to thank my country for their love, support and prayers. I am back home and I’m back stronger.”
She added that her top precedence now was to spend time with her family but promised that “it’s not the last time South Africa hear from me’.
“I am looking to being with my family right now and catching up.”
Nolubabalo attained a degree which she obtained through distance learning while in Thai prison.
According to Henk Vanstaen, via the Daily Dispatch newspaper in East London, he said ” I know she learnt a lot during her stay here. Not only she will come out with a degree in communication, but what is more important, with the realisation that she took her destiny in her owns hands and became a better person” he said.