The Evolved Man of the Week: Tongai Matandirotya 

Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s “Evolved Man of the Week” profile. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved person, famous and non-famous individuals alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the bartender, Cape Town local, and hero, Tongai Matandirotya

Tongai Matandirotya, who works at Brass Bell Restaurant near Cape Town, left behind any thoughts of his own safety—and of the drink, he was pouring for a customer—to dive into the cold Atlantic ocean to rescue a mother and daughter swept off the pier by a rogue wave.

It was a relatively calm day in the fishing village of Kalk Bay. Several people were walking by the window of Brass Bells, looking out to the water. Then the scene changed dramatically.

A mother and her daughter, among the people swept by a strong rip current while walking along the Kalk Bay harbor, are thankful to the bartender. He risked his own safety to save them. The bartender, Tongai Matandirotya, suffered minor injuries while trying to help those swept to the sea during the incident in April 2022.

He added that the rip current was powerful that day, and the water was cold, but he was determined to try and help those in the water.

“When I managed to get some of them to shore, I called for backup as there were still more people in the ocean. Others then dived in and started helping with the rescue,”  

-Matandirotya said.

After everyone was safe, he realized that he had hurt himself badly against the harbor’s wall. Tongai’s quick thinking helped save lives that day, and I’m sure the Gardiner family and countless others are thankful for his actions. He risked his life to save an 8-year-old child and many others with some assistance from other good samaritans. We at the Evolving Men Project salute Tongai’s heroic actions and selflessness. Today we honor Tongai  Matandirotya as our Evolved Man of the Week. 


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