Skukuza resident Marlene Hurter sat in a bank next to a barefoot woman counting out R60 and decided to hold her hand out as a joke.
What happened next floored her.
“I had put my hand out because I was bored. She gave me R20. I told her ‘no, no no, it was just a joke’ but she didn’t understand because she is Venda,” Hurter said on Saturday morning.
“She had so little and yet she was willing to give something to me. It surprised me because today no one is willing to give anymore.”
Hurter, 41, was so touched she put her experience on Facebook and also decided to track ‘Mama Africa’ down.
It emerged that Maeba, believed to be in her sixties, sold vetkoek for a living at the Skukuza staff village.
Hurter met up with her a few times and they spoke through a translator.
“She gave me two 5-litre ice-cream containers filled with vetkoek and the translator said that was because I did not want to take her R20,” Hurter said with disbelief.
People who saw her Facebook post opened their wallets after hearing about the woman’s generosity.
They raised around R4 000 in five days and Hurter handed the money over to her on Friday.
“She was very emotional. She had a bible with her and started reading a verse.”
Someone had suggested that they assist her with financial advice and ways to expand her business.
Hurter said they were looking into this.
“Ubuntu is still alive and does not care about language and or race, we must just open our eyes, ears and mind for it and we must stop and look around us,” she said on social media.
“Something small for us might mean the world to somebody else. Pay it forward, let this story guide you and make a difference in someone else life.”