When Walter Maqabaza and his gang decided to rob a church and its congregants of the collection and their personal belongings, he was unaware that this was the turning point that would steer him away from a life of life of gangsterism.
Born 43 years ago in Kirkwood, Maqabaza, who now lives in New Brighton, is a transformed man.
Yesterday, he said he did not believe he should still be alive but has dedicated the remainder of his life to educating others, particularly youngsters, about the dangers associated with alcohol, drugs and crime.
Maqabaza has also written a book, published by Lesedi House last year, titled My Life, From Crisis to Christ.
The book gives details of Maqabaza’s journey from a former gang member, professional boxer, freedom fighter and notorious armed robber who often targeted churches, to his time behind bars and beyond.
On July 31 2014, Maqabaza said he and two companions had learnt there would be a four-day crusade in New Brighton organised by the Jesus Dominion International Church and saw this as a perfect opportunity to make money.
Prior to this, Maqabaza had served 10 years behind bars but was released on parole for a 1989 armed robbery related to an attack on worshippers at the Word of Faith Centre in William Moffett Expressway.
For the full story read The Herald, or get the complete newspaper, including comics, classifieds, crosswords and back editions in our e-Edition.