CAPE TOWN – A family of six narrowly escaped being burnt to death after their shack caught alight on Friday 2 September in Wallacedene.
The blaze, caused by a candle, broke out at 9pm and rapidly spread to engulf 12 backyard shacks across two properties, although no injuries were reported.
Naledi Kalogi (44), said she was watching tv with her husband Amos Kalogi (56) and their four children ranging in age from 21 to four-years-old, when a curtain dividing the sleeping area caught alight.
Naledi said it all happened so quickly that they didn’t manage to save any of their possessions.
“I screamed to alert the neighbours,” she said, but the fire spread rapidly, engulfing seven of the nine shacks in their yard and destroying five shacks in the neighbouring yard.
The homes were completely gutted by the time the fire brigade arrived.
Naledi’s 14-year-old daugher Eunice Kalogi said her school books and uniform had been lost in the blaze, just while she was preparing for her Grade 9 final exams.
The Kalogi’s neighbour, Nomandla Mafuya (22), said she made a living selling chips and sweets and all her stock had gone up in flames.
“I don’t know how I will start again. That is my only source of income,” said Mafuya.
Ward councillor Simpiwe Nonkeyizana visited the affected families the following morning, accompanied by officials from the City of Cape Town Disaster Management office to provide material to rebuild their homes, as well as provide blankets and food.
Nokeyizana said there had been nine shack fire incidents in Wallacedene over the past eight months, resulting in the death of a child in Hlubi Street in February.