'I love you brother, we will fist bump one day soon': dad killed for cellphone

The hands of Dumisani Maaga and his girlfriend Crystell Page, around the tiny feet of their first-born daughter, who is now two years old.
The hands of Dumisani Maaga and his girlfriend Crystell Page, around the tiny feet of their first-born daughter, who is now two years old.
Image: Supplied by Maaga's friends

Dumisani Maaga's family was his life but he will not witness the birth of his second child.

The 32-year-old, fondly remembered as a "great and caring father", died at the weekend after being pushed out of a car as he wrestled with cellphone thieves in Johannesburg. 

He was trying to help a friend whose phone had been snatched at Pineslopes shopping centre in Fourways on Saturday evening.

And now, all that is left are memories and a two-year-old daughter who will eventually have to come to terms with losing her father.

Maaga's close friend, Llewellan Vance, told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE they had met on Saturday evening for a drink. Maaga was about to start a new job at the company where Vance worked.

"I was quite amped and pumped about that," Vance said. They had been friends for more than six years.

Maaga and Vance met up with other friends and stopped in at Hogshead and Beerhouse.

When they arrived at Billy the B.U.M'S, they decided not to go in. The group stood outside waiting for an Uber.

A white vehicle pulled up close to them, a man jumped out and grabbed one of their cellphones. The thief got back in the car and it sped off.

A woman and a man gave chase, with Maaga in hot pursuit, and the car came to a halt at the exit of the shopping centre.  

"As he [Maaga] got to the car and the door was opened by the other gentleman [his friend], he just jumped in on the back seat, trying to help his friend retrieve his phone. That's the nature of his character, he was always protecting his friends," said Vance.

It was the last time Maaga was seen alive. The car sped off with him inside.

The last picture Llewellan Vance and Dumisani Maaga took on Saturday evening.
The last picture Llewellan Vance and Dumisani Maaga took on Saturday evening.
Image: Llewellan Vance

Cpt Mavela Masondo said the suspects drove along Witkoppen Road and allegedly pushed Maaga out of the moving car.

He sustained a head injury and was declared dead on the scene.

Family and friends are still struggling to come to terms with his death.

"It was a blessing to see him grow and form his relationship with his future wife. We have a tight-knit group of friends and he had always been such a good guy.

"No matter what, even if we were out, he would prioritise his family," Vance said.

Hugo Lammens, who was close friends with Maaga over more than 14 years, said they spent a lot of time together.  

"Me and Duma have always been close, there wasn't a week where we wouldn't talk to each other. We would go out every single weekend together.

"I am just very sad at the way he passed away," said Lammens.

He said he would miss Maaga, his "best friend".

"I will miss him phoning to check up on me. He was the most genuine, nice person. He never judged anyone, and in the 14 years that I knew him, we never even fought.

"I will miss his loving heart and how he used to laugh about everything."

Hugo Lammens with Maaga in March this year.
Hugo Lammens with Maaga in March this year.
Image: Hugo Lammens

Robert Russell, another close friend, said Maaga was a "great and caring" father.

“We are talking about a man who only knew how to live and be happy."

In Maaga's memory, he said: "You entered into a place with swagger, and infected me with your genuine, authentic self."

"It's an honour to have had you in our awesome group of lads. I love you brother, and we will fist bump one day again soon," Russell said.

Maaga will be buried on Saturday.

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