NELSON Mandela Bay resident Yusuf Lorgat, one of The Herald GM Citizen of the Year finalists, has quietly been helping the less fortunate in the city for several years.
Lorgat, who has been a public relations officer at NGO the Al Fidaa Foundation since 2008, has dedicated his time to helping towards the growth of sports in the city's needy communities.
Lorgat said he was thrilled with the nomination and recognition.
"I have a passion to work with the community and love working with the people that I work with. I get great enjoyment out of doing my community work which means salvation to my soul," Lorgat said.
The 75-year-old Malabar resident has been married for 54 years and has three children. He runs 54 soup kitchens – 18 of them are at clinics and hospitals. Seventeen are community based, 11 are at schools, five are at orphanages and two at Islamic schools.
"We also do computer training, skills training, offer counselling services and run an Islamic school after school hours," he said.
Mohammed Matvad, who works with Lorgat and nominated him, said he was the Bay's "unsung hero".
"He is one of true admiration – a man of principle. He is stern with himself with regards to his work, yet he is compassionate to his colleagues when they are at fault."
Matvad said Lorgat was the type of person who unselfishly donated his time to the community.
"He has a lot of life experience and is always willing to share that with his work colleagues," Matvad said.
"I am ecstatic that he made it to be one of the 12 finalist, but I would be even happier if he could make it to the top five." Besides his soup kitchen work, Lorgat has also served as a sports administrator.
He kicked off his sports career as the secretary of Regents Cricket Club 58 years ago and held various positions in the sport culminating in his election as the president of the Eastern Province Cricket Association in 1985.
He was also the match and registration secretary and a selector of the SA Cricket Board, among other positions.
Kwazakhele's Linge Tots Division Centre principal Fezeka Gawula, who also nominated Lorgat, said he had helped the centre immensely.
"We were struggling and we got his contact details and he has been supporting us since then with groceries.
"If he were to be the winner, we would also benefit. He is a good man," Gawula said.
Some of Lorgat's sports achievements include being the 1993 EP Administrator of the Year finalist and winning an International Cricket Council (ICC) award for his service.
He was also an EP Soccer Board Administrator of the Year in 1987 and the 1969 Regent Cricket Club Administrator of the Year.