Fire in Masiphumelele destroys more than 1000 homes, including those of 7 Ikamvanites


In the early hours of the morning on 2nd May, Masiphumelele was ravaged by the angry snapping of fire. The fire is said to have started toward the west of the township and swept quickly and ferociously into more than a 1000 homes. Shacks were predominantly affected but there are houses too that are standing as hollow shells of the homes they once were.
 
7 Ikamvanite learners were amongst the victims. ‘Everything is destroyed’ said grade 10 learner Linda, as she stood in line to receive her ‘kit’ to rebuild what her and her family had lost. Whilst the ‘kit’ is something, it consists of a meagre portion of wood and corrugated iron.
 
A couple of the learners are not entitled to a rebuilding kit as their homes did not have formal numbers. When asked what she needed, Tandazwa Nocanda, a grade 12 said ‘I don’t know where to start… everything’. Her brother is searching for materials to start building their new shack today. 
 
Tandazwa was alone when the fire began, her brother was visiting the Eastern Cape; ‘I didn’t know what to do, I was so scared, I was terrified’. When her friend woke her at midnight on Sunday, she quickly changed into the clothes that are now her only possessions and fled the flames. She wasn’t able to grab anything.  
 
It is horrendous that these young people who are so eager to change their futures have been affected so heavily by this accident. Their school books, study materials, and uniforms all went up in flames. Today, school was closed as so many learners had nothing. Tomorrow, they will attend school and they hope to receive school uniforms and books to help them continue to study for the imminent exams that commence in 3 weeks. 
 
The most pressing needs are the provision of clothing, school uniforms (shoes in particular), blankets, sheets, towels, mattresses, kitchen/cooking equipment; pots, pans, cutlery, monetary donations for the re-building of houses. Avile Mabhengu, a grade 11 learner, is sleeping on his friend’s floor and wearing his best friend’s shoes that are a size too small. There is a real need for any donations people can contribute; be it money or in-kind.   
 
Any donations for the Masiphumelele community can be delivered to The Pink House opposite the Community Hall, or the Living Hope building on Kommejtie Road. The IkamvaYouth Man Club (a group of boys in grade 10-12 would like to get together and go and help paint shacks in the community. If there is any help with paint, paintbrushes, wood seal, etc this would be great. Any monetary or in-kind donations for our learners specifically, or for more information, please contact zoe@ikamvayouth.org to arrange collection or make a payment to the IkamvaYouth Masi bank account (details below).
 
Beneficiary name:IKAMVAYOUTH MASI 
Bank name:STANDARD BANK  
Beneficiary account number:70507295 
Branch code:00051001 
Branch name:CAPE TOWN


Photos by Solomzi Mtagwane (Grade 12 learner)