Andisiwe Ngubo said she was woken up at about 3am on Saturday. “Residents who were drinking alcohol nearby shouted and told us to wake up as the fire was engulfing our shacks‚” she said. “I stepped out of my shack wearing only pyjamas and saw the inferno approaching before pulling my children out of their shack and fleeing.”
The fire destroyed her children’s school uniforms‚ SASSA cards‚ ID documents‚ schoolbooks‚ bed‚ birth certificates and her other possessions. “Now I have nothing to wear except these pyjamas as the fire destroyed all my belongings‚” she said.
Ngubo said she has no job and lives on her children’s government grants. “I have no money to buy building materials to rebuild the shack. If the City doesn’t give me building materials‚ I will sleep outside‚” she said.
Ngubo was hungrily eating bread as she spoke to GroundUp. “I’m famished‚ confused and shocked as I speak‚” she said trying to regain her energy.
Community leader Nobom Twayise said the fire would have not caused so much devastation if the shacks were not built so close to each other. “We now want the City to remove some residents and place them elsewhere so that there can be space between shacks‚” she said.
Twayise said‚ “If the shacks were not closely clustered‚ the fire-fighters would have easily entered Blowy to douse the blaze and it would not have destroyed so many shacks …Paramedics can’t enter Blowy; residents must carry a sick person on the shoulders to a nearby street where ambulances wait.”