A man who was photographed helping an elderly woman trapped by the Durban floods, has been identified as Matrick Mbhele

Nicole Alisha posted the photo to Facebook to praise the man who leapt out of his own car, stripped down, and helped the elderly woman to safety.

“True courage and I just want to give a shout out to everyone who put other people before themselves today!” said Alisha.

After the photograph of the man went viral, a search was launched to identify him, so the public could thank him for his bravery.

READ MORE: Durban storm hero goes viral 

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The woman, who had been trapped inside the car, contacted GoodThingsGuy to tell her side of the story… “I am the elderly lady in the car and I am eternally grateful to the gentleman who stopped his Time Freight van and rescued me. I was petrified and he assured me that he was also a lifesaver… truly my hero. Thank you,” said Janet Hart.

‘Mama, don’t be scared, I’m a lifesaver and I’m coming to get you.’

Hart’s son, Richard, also launched a search to find the hero

“The lady in the vehicle was my mom and we are desperately trying to find this hero to give him a reward. We have a licence plate number and the company he works for. He performed this heroic act and then simply carried on with his job for the day. He didn’t wait around for a thanks. He just did this out of the kindness in his heart.

“His exact words to my mom, before he dived in were, ‘Mama, don’t be scared, I’m a lifesaver and I’m coming to get you.’ What a hero.”

Richard finally managed to identify the man who saved his mother

His name is Matrick Mbhele (full name Sibusiso Manduzu Matrick Mbhele).


Matrick and Janet were reunited late last week with the Sunday Tribune present to capture the incredible moment.

They met up at Janet’s husbands’ office and the pair embraced each other. They each shared their thoughts on the day and it was great to hear how they both took in that heroic moment.

Matrick has been grateful for the praise he has received but he feels he did what he had to.

“I didn’t expect anything, I was just doing my duty. When you give a hand to someone, God will bless you. I didn’t expect all this publicity, it is our duty as humans,” said Matrick.

Matrick said he became a lifesaver after he and his family were also trapped in a flood back in 1980. He realised how scary the water can be so he decided to become a strong swimmer and work towards becoming a lifesaver. He trained at North Coast Lifesaving Club.

Janet wasn’t the only person Matrick saved, he also helped several others, including children.

Ricky Hart, Janet’s husband, gifted Matrick an unknown amount of money. The gesture was to say thank you for saving his wife. Ricky gave the envelope containing the cheque and said,

This is from my family, my children, grandchildren and my mother who is 85-years-old. Ngiyabonga kakhulu [thank you very much]. You really don’t know what you’ve done for us. I’ve got my wife back in one piece and it’s because of you.”



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