Home Lifestyle Songstress Karin Kortje speaks of the murder that changed her career

Songstress Karin Kortje speaks of the murder that changed her career

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Former Idols winner and singing sensation, Karin Kortje has broken her silence after nearly 20 years, telling of how the murder of guest house owner, Renate Kellerman, at the hands of her boyfriend at the time, Cheslyn Williams, impacted her life and career.

Former Idols winner, Karin Kortje. Picture: File

FORMER Idols SA winner and singing sensation Karin Kortje has broken her silence after nearly 20 years, telling of how the murder of guest house owner Renate Kellerman, at the hands of her boyfriend at the time, Cheslyn Williams, had impacted her life and career.

Kortje, 43, used social platform TikTok to share her story – that of healing and a new lease on life – in a series of more than 100 videos.

In the videos numbered 106, 107, 108, 109 and 110, Kortje gives a blow-by-blow account of how she and Jabu Mlotshwa, who was a member of her management team, had stumbled upon Kellerman’s body on 13 July 2006, and how she outed Williams to the police.

Cheslyn Williams leaves the Bellville Magistrate’s Court in 2006. Picture: File

The mother of four rose to fame in 2005 and became renowned as the “apple picker” from Grabouw who had won Idols SA that year.

A year later, her life took a dramatic turn after she became involved with Williams, who had been at the guest house with her and Mlotshwa in Durbanville.

Kortje and Mlotshwa had returned from shooting a TV advertisement when they found Kellerman’s body inside the house. Williams was arrested and charged with the murder and the killing became a media frenzy. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for Kellerman’s rape and murder and died in 2015 from leukaemia.

Wynand Kellerman showing a picture of his wife, Renate, who was murdered at their Durbanville guest house. Picture: File

An emotional Kortje explains in the videos that she had been advised by Mlotshwa to leave Williams because he was troublesome and had been involved in a heated debate with Kellerman the night before the murder, where she had told him not to ruin Kortje’s career.

Kortje described how she and Mlotshwa had arrived home to find the house in disarray and found it odd that Kellerman’s vehicle was missing.

She told of how she had a “light bulb” moment and an uneasy feeling that something was not right because she had come to know Kellerman’s routine while staying at the guest house and noticed that her lights were off in certain parts of the house while the guest entrance was unlocked.

“I just felt a feeling of worry come over me, I told myself, ‘what is happening here?’,” she explained.

“I pushed the door open, I said nothing to Jabu at that moment. As I pushed open the door, I saw her lying on the floor.

“I just looked and Jabu was not right in the room yet and was about to walk into her room and she looked back at that time. I just heard Jabu screaming. I was standing there, I looked, thinking what am I looking at? Jabu screamed, come Karin, come.”

Kortje later tells of how she had found Kellerman’s son inside another bedroom before she found the body.

She said she outed Williams to police that she found at a road block in Durbanville. And she shares how she had made the decision to leave Williams and to choose her son.

“I could help to bring justice for the victim, she didn’t deserve it.”

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