Popular businessman Junkie Matlala was the pride of Malebitsa, outside Marapyane in Mpumalanga. So it is understandable that the community is in shock after his sudden death.
They have lost a Good Samaritan, a man who was always willing to lend a helping hand.
Matlala, 34, was brutally murdered by four armed men who broke into his house this week. The men forced him to open his mouth and then thrust a gun into it and pulled the trigger.
His girlfriend, Welheminah Molekwa, 22, said Matlala heard footsteps in the house, and went to investigate.
"I heard one of the men saying 'open your mouth', then the sound of a gunshot. I found Junkie lying in a pool of blood," she said.
The thugs ordered Molekwa to show them where the safe was and then made off with more than R50000 and boxes of cigarettes worth R5000.
Residents said Matlala was a businessman who never allowed his community to go hungry.
"He created jobs for local people and his death is a huge blow for all of us," one resident said.
In 1990 Matlala passed grade 12 with distinctions.
He started his business in 1988 while still at school, selling bread and boiled eggs to schoolmates.
His parents wanted him to further his education, but Matlala was intent on being the best businessman he could be. In 1993 his father, Simon, gave him money to go to university to study medicine. Instead he built a supermarket.
He is survived by his brothers, Joseph, Thabiso and France, and his three children, Thabang and Thabo, both 9, and Goitsimang, 10. He separated from his wife in 2003.
He will be buried tomorrow at Malebitsa Cemetery. The service, at the local Apostolic Church, starts at 7am.