Cyclist will be sorely missed

Albert Munthali was killed in cold blood by house burglers in his home in Dunoon. He had a passion for animals and cycling.

Friends and family are mourning the death of Albert Munthali who was killed during a house break-in.

On Monday April 9, Mr Munthali, 38, had worked the late shift, ending at 9pm, at Vetclin, a Blaauwberg Road veterinary practice. When he reached his house in Dunoon, he was met by burglers who had broken into his flat. His wife, Eliness was not home at the time but was told by witnesses that the robbers had demanded Mr Munthali give them money. When he said he had none on him they shot him and took his phone and bike,” said Ms Munthali.

Milnerton police spokesperson Captain Nopaya Madyibi said police were investigating a murder and robbery but no arrests had been made yet.

Mr Munthali is survived by his wife and three-year-old daughter, Melissa. He has left a gaping hole in the lives of his family, friends and colleagues who described him as a soft-spoken man with a cheeky sense of humour and a genuine love for animals. Originally from Malawi, Mr Munthali moved to Cape Town 13 years ago. He was planning to return home for the first time next month for a holiday. Instead his body will be flown home after a memorial service in Dunoon this Sunday.

Ms Munthali said they had been married for five years and that she would miss her husband sorely.

“We met in South Africa but we had a lot in common because we are both from Mzimba in Malawi,” she said.

Melissa Charles, an ex-colleague, said she had formed a close bond with Mr Munthali.

“I met him when he was working at a vet in Panorama and organised for him to get the post in Table View because it was closer to his home. He was very grateful,” said Ms Charles.

When he had said one day that he would like to do the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Ms Charles and a few staff members and friends had bought him cycling gear and had helped him register for the race in 2013. Although entries had already closed, the Pedal Power Association had sponsored his late entry, and he had finished the race in five hours and 15 minutes on a mountain bike, wearing takkies.

“He told me it was the greatest achievement of his life. He never believed Cape Town to be so beautiful and the people lining the streets to be so encouraging, shouting for him to keep going. He told me he was inspired to better his life because of this race,” she said.

He upgraded his bike and completed three more Cycle Tours in 2014, 2015 and 2018, each year shaving more time off his previous results.

Mr Munthali studied at night school in Mowbray and completed a certificate in business management while working as a clinic assistant at the vet and training full-time.

Ms Charles was overcome with emotion as she recalled the night Mr Munthali’s daughter was born and how proud he was to become a father.

“He called me past 10pm and he was so excited, I hardly understood what he was saying. He told me he wanted to name his daughter after me because I had done so much for him. I felt so honoured and humbled.”

Dr Geoff Nannucci worked with Mr Munthali for about four years and was his cycling partner on training rides.

“He was a gentle man and an honest man with a good sense of humour. He was passionate about his cycling and always keen to take up an opportunity to go out and cycle,” said Dr Nannucci.

Mr Munthali’s bicycle broke before his third Cycle Tour and Dr Nannucci had lent him one of his mountain bikes. Even though the bike was not quite the right fit because Mr Munthali was considerably taller than Dr Nannucci, he stuck it out and completed the race.

“One day he showed me a Trek road bike was on sale at Cash Crusaders. He bought it and completed his last Argus tour on it in March,” he said.

A fund has been set up to help Mr Munthali’s family during this time. If you wish to donate you can call Vetclin at 021 557 8877.