Help from behind bars
A Boksburg prison inmate has opened his heart and donated R20000 in cash to help a family bury their deceased grandmother.
The corpse of Masabata Makganya, 71, who died on April 16, has been lying in a mortuary in Soweto because her family could not afford to bury her.
The unexpected call from convicted prisoner, Marvin Fortuin, came after two orphaned sisters, from Molapo in Soweto, made a plea to the community to help them bury their grandmother.
Fortuin, who heard about the sisters' plight from his prison cell, gave all the money he had in his prison account.
Fortuin, who has three years left to complete his prison sentence, said that while he had been in the defence force, his motto had been "serve and protect" and his aim in life was to live by that motto.
He said his conscience would not let him refrain from opening his wallet and donating what he had.
"I could not just leave an old lady to lie in a mortuary knowing that I could help. I felt like she was my mother and deserved to have a decent burial," Fortuin said.
He said he believed he was doing God's will.
"When you are in prison one gets a lot of time to reflect, and for nine years I have been reflecting," Fortuin said.
Ntswaki Makganya, one of the sisters, could not contain her joy and gratitude when she received the donation from Fortuin.
"I never thought that help would come from a prison," she said.
"I am so relieved, I am even shaking. I really don't know how to thank him, he has helped us so much," Makganya said.
Patrick Thobejane, the prison's communication and liaison officer, described Fortuin's gesture as a reflection of the prison's rehabilitation programme.