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Hospital porter who volunteered for 22 years gets surprise gift

S'phiwe Msimango's love and dedication for children and the elderly gets appreciated./Ziphozonke Lushaba
S'phiwe Msimango's love and dedication for children and the elderly gets appreciated./Ziphozonke Lushaba

After volunteering as a porter at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital for 22 years without a salary, 65-year-old S'phiwe Msimango never imagined that he would one day own a brand new car.

Msimango was shaken when mining mogul Daphne Mashile-Nkosi presented him with the key to a white Nissan bakkie on Saturday, to thank him for selflessly serving the community over the years.

Popularly known as "Malome" by the community, Msimango has been helping to feed and move patients around the hospital when there is a shortage of porters.

He also organises shows for patients and free theatre tickets for them.

On Saturday, during the launch of a haematology clinic, hospital CEO Dr Nkele Lesia called Msimango up to the stage.

Mashile-Nkosi made a short speech about acknowledging community heroes and heroines who serve people without expecting anything in return before announcing the gift.

Cheers and ululation erupted inside the tent as Msimango walked down the stage to view his new car for the first time.

Speaking to Sowetan after being presented with the key, Msimango said: "This has taken me by surprise. I don't know what to say.

"I never thought I would own a car."

Msimango said he cannot even drive but he would rely on relatives to drive him.

Msimango, a former soccer player who hails from Alexandra and later moved to Soweto, said his deep love for people inspired him to volunteer at Bara.

"When I see a person in need of help I get a wheelchair, I take them to the wards or to casualty," he said.

"When I see people battling to locate their loved ones, I also assist them because I know the whole hospital."

Msimango also loves spending time with elderly people and entertaining children at the paediatric outpatient area.

"I love everybody, young and old. I go to old age homes and spend my birthday there with the pensioners."

Msimango, who has two children, said he has been able to survive throughout the years despite not earning a salary through the goodwill of the people in the community.

"People always ask how I manage to survive and look this good without a salary. I tell them God looks after me."

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