With 256 runs so far, wicketkeeper-batsman Clyde Fortuin is the second highest run-getter in this four-nation quadrangular at Visakhapatnam and the highest in the South African camp. Having struck three fifties with a highest of 90 against India, Fortuin, who opens the batting, has been getting the team off to strong starts. In life, however, Fortuin didn’t have the best of starts.
Having clawed his way up in society through hard times, Fortuin, 18, is visibly uncomfortable when asked about his childhood. Born in Cape Town, his mother Connie was unable to care for him and was forced to leave him in the care of a friendly couple - the Langeveldts. Fortuin was one then. He grew up calling Cynthia Langeveldt ‘mom, and her husband Dion as ‘dad’. Connie would drop by whenever she could.
“We didn’t always have a lot. But Dion and Cynthia made sure I never lacked for anything,” says Fortuin. He grew up playing soccer, joining a local club where he made friends with a teammate, Jason Fourie. Later, Fortuin would also be introduced to cricket by his ‘father’. Fortuin turned out to be a natural on both sides of the stumps, soon catching the eye of Jason’s father, Charles Fourie — a cricket enthusiast.
Just when things were starting to look good for Fortuin — he was developing as a cricketer under the watchful eyes of his mentors, Cynthia, Dion and Charles — tragedy struck again when Dion passed away due to a lung ailment. Fortuin was 11 then. The times were rough.
Without Dion, living in Walmer Estate — a hardscrabble part of town known for its fair share of violence — wasn’t easy. “It is the sort of place where a kid can easily go astray with drugs and guns. It is to Clyde’s credit that he was able to stay away from all of that,” says Morgan Pillay, team manager of this South Africa Under-19 side.
Plenty of credit can also go to Charles, who took control of the young boy’s life, giving it a direction. “He is a great guy. He