FIRED UP: Siya Mflathelwa sets the pace for his athletes.
Cape Town - The Marvel universe and Planet Krypton may only exist in the minds of comic strip and movie fanatics, but back on earth a small number of real-life superheroes protect our streets, operating incognito with no desire for recognition or reward.

Cape Town is home to many inspirational individuals, though the work of Gugulethu resident, Siya Mflathelwa, 36, is a tale of particularly profound philanthropy.

Siya is a cherished member of the Gugulethu community, who devotes considerable time to training young people, providing a sporting outlet for those who are often surrounded by violence and danger. He is the man at the heart of a phenomenal movement taking place in Gugulethu.

After witnessing swathes of young people fall to the temptation of drugs and alcohol, Mflathelwa set out to galvanise these youngsters and restore fading hopes and dreams to their former glory.

Mflathelwa is receiving much media attention, recently featuring in a Netflix production involving various local heroes.

After the release of hit series, The Defenders, a TV show which involves a group of heroes joining forces to take on common enemies, lead character Luke Cage immediately resonated with South African viewers. As a result, Netflix has set out to find individuals who tackle community issues and go out of their way to make the world a little better.

Mflathelwa has become a local hero for his efforts, recognised by all and adored throughout the community.

He has given structure to countless wandering youths, providing a true sense of belief in the minds of many.

Despite his success and the outpouring of love he receives, Mflathelwa’s humility symbolises his selfless personality.

“I’m so grateful for the love and appreciation I receive, but all of this is for the kids. I don’t need money (from the kids), knowing I’ve made a positive difference is the only reward I need.”

Although the love and joy Siya immerses himself in certainly makes him a rich man, his difficult financial situation paints an entirely different picture. Currently living in abject poverty, Mflathelwa says getting by day-to-day can be a major struggle.

Cape Town is home to many inspirational individuals, though the work of Gugulethu resident, Siya Mflathelwa, 36, is a tale of particularly profound philanthropy. Video: Peter Thomas

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Cape Argus