Mr Stephen Malcolm McGowan, a South African national, was kidnapped in November 2011 in Timbuktu, Mali by Al Qaeda militants whilst on holiday. He was kept in captivity since then. The family, the South African government, the South African and international community have since then, been campaigning for his release.
We are happy to announce that finally these efforts have culminated in Mr McGowan's release on 29 July 2017. We would like to warmly welcome him back home and wish him good health and good fortune in his life as a free man. It is with sadness though, that his dear mother, Beverly passed on in May 2017 without seeing her son again. The government extends, its deepest condolences to Stephen and his family. May her soul rest in eternal peace.
The South African government would like to convey its deepest gratitude to all role players such as the government of Mali, NGOs and individuals for their efforts that eventually secured Mr McGowan's release.
We call on all South African's to continue to support him whilst allowing him the space and time he needs to adjust to his environment after years of incarceration.
Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation