12 April 2021
Katlehong – Residents of Marutle Street in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni on Sunday came out to witness the official handover of the renovated house of 79-year-old pensioner Gabriel Phalane, after it has undergone a major facelift in recent days.
Following his commitment to urgently renovate the house, Given The Giver Foundation founder and prominent businessman Given Murhlarhi arrived for the handover on Sunday with Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi for the joyful event.
Phalane, a former soccer star, said he still can’t believe that his prayers have been answered.
“Today will be a day that I will not forget. This house will be a legacy I leave for my children and grandchildren. I was crying for help, and Mr Muhlarhi here was sent by God to wipe away my tears,” Phalane told scores of journalists who had gathered for the event.
“My neighbours keep asking me how I managed to do all these renovations including adding a high security fence. I am eternally grateful. I would want to encourage Mr Muhlarhi to continue with his good work, and God will bless him.”
When Murharhi brought food donations to the desperate family last month, he committed to renovate their dilapidated house which was damaged by a storm.
Pushed by desperation, the Phalane family had sent out pleas for help through an interview with the Daily Sun newspaper.
On Sunday, Muhlarhi said he could not sleep well after reading about the family’s plight.
“This story of this family was very painful when it got to me, and especially considering how bad the rains were in this past season. I pictured how he was doing here in a place with a collapsed roof, when I was in my house. He is an old person on crutches, a former legend, and I wondered how he was surviving in such a house,” said Murharhi.
“To be honest, I could not sleep well. In marking my 40th birthday, I made sure that instead of calling my friends to go and pop champagne at Sandton, how about doing this and make myself happy? This would make me sleep better knowing that he walks around on his crutches in his house. I thank God for giving me the strength and all the friends who heeded my call to come and help this family.”
Lesufi said Murharhi is a role model who must inspire other young people to do charity work.
“As a nation, we must encourage our young people that as they grow up, material things will always be there but these heart-warming gestures are what we need in society. For us to come here to open such a beautiful house for someone who is not capable or able to do it for themselves, it is a heart-warming story,” said the MEC.
“It is a very heart-warming story and that is why some of us have left whatever we were doing to come here and say to Given, thank you so much for doing this. People of his age, they throw parties overnight.”
African News Agency (ANA)