Several residents are left to pick up the pieces after a fire that destroyed several homes in Overcome Heights.
Several residents are left to pick up the pieces after a fire that destroyed several homes in Overcome Heights.

Matriculant ’hopeless’ after losing everything in shack fire that destroyed his home

By Siphokazi Vuso Time of article published Nov 25, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - A matriculant is now concerned for his future after he was among Vrygrond residents who lost everything in a devastating fire that destroyed several homes in informal settlements in the area’s Overcome Heights last week.

Ongeziwe Ngwane, 21, who lost his uniform, text books, and notes said he had contemplated giving up on his dream of passing matric.

“I have also been thinking about leaving school because of what happened. I am losing hope, and I should be studying and focusing on my exams right now,” he said.

Several residents were left to pick up the pieces when a fire that started a few minutes before midnight destroyed about 30 households in the community last week.

Spokesperson for Fire Service, Jermaine Carelse said the City’s Fire and Rescue Service responded to informal structures alight in Vrygrond 11.53pm on Thursday, November 18.

Ongeziwe’s mother, Bongiwe Ngwane said luckily she went to report the incident to the school and Ongeziwe was able to write one of his exam papers this week.

“He had to go to school without wearing a uniform. I have been so worried. I am glad at least he was able to write,” she said.

However Ongeziwe said he still felt ’hopeless’ because he had lost important documents like his ID that could help him find a job after school.

His mother added that they did not know what may have started the fire.

“We just heard people screaming that there was a fire and we ran out. We tried to save some of our belongings but we couldn’t get to all of them,” she said.

Community activist, Fawzia Cassieman said the community desperately needed assistance.

“People have lost everything. These people don’t work and they are struggling to put up their shacks. They are sleeping by their friends or they have to borrow money for material so they can rebuild again. It’s almost Christmas now and the people are going to suffer for the whole holiday and I don’t think that’s fair.

“It is heartbreaking, to have a roof over your head today and then just from one mistake from a neighbour, all that is gone,” said Carstens.

For donations to the affected families including buildings materials, Cassieman can be contacted on 074 323 1815.

Cape Times

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