Masiphumelele residents are mourning the life of a neighbour lost in Monday’s fire, and also trying to restore the structures that were destroyed.

Hundreds of people were displaced when the fire gutted about 100 shacks in the early hours of that day.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but crowded conditions and strong winds resulted in it spreading quickly.

A resident stands exhausted after another day of rebuilding his home. He, like many others, lost everything in Monday’s blaze. IMAGE: Caitlin Maledo

Residents of Masiphumelele’s D-section were able to grab very little – if anything – before fleeing with their families.

One resident says she was able to grab one bag of clothes, another says she could only manage to save her children.

And almost nothing could be salvaged.


Gift of the Givers, other organisations, and some government agencies were on the scene to assist the fire victims, but Nosiphiwo Saunders – like many other residents – now needs to take the little she has and restart her life.

“It’s very difficult for me because I have to start from scratch. I have to have money, that I don’t have now. I’m just doing what I can do.”

Perhaps the worst part of their ordeal is that they agree with their neighbour, Ziyanda Bless, that it won’t be the last time they have to rebuild.

As they work trying to rebuild their homes, the sentiment – across the board – is that residents there want proper homes.