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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

South Africans step up to help Cape Town fire victims

The Gift of the Givers said it had fed 4,000 UCT students and further called on the public to donate essential items such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste.


South Africans have come together to  help where they can in the wake of the fire in Cape Town that has destroyed the Rhodes Memorial restaurant and the University of Cape Town (UCT) library.

UCT students were on Sunday evacuated from the campus as the fire continued to spread.

The city of Cape Town said on Monday morning the fire had now spread towards the Vredehoek area as a result of the South Easter winds.

“The wind speed increased from about 2am this morning and additional fire crews are now stationed at Pepper Tree and Chelmsford area. More than 250 firefighters from the vity, Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), Working on Fire and the Volunteer Wildfire Services remain on the ground fighting the fire on various fronts,” the city said.

The incident has left South Africans coming together to help firefighters battling the blaze and those affected by it.

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According to the TMNP manager Frans van Rooyen, community members and businesses came out in numbers on Sunday at the Newlands firebase to drop off food, water, energy drinks and other necessities.

“This is highly appreciated and anyone who still wants to donate can drop off donations at the Newlands firebase off the M3 highway,” said Van Rooyen.

The Gift of the Givers said it had fed 4,000 UCT students and further called on the public to donate essential items such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

“Gift of the Givers has been requested to provide three meals a day for the next seven days, a task we welcome with great joy in serving the future leaders of our nation. The cook was amazing, got his team together at short notice, purchased ingredients late Sunday afternoon, cleaned, cut, prepared and cooked chicken, mutton and vegetable akni to accommodate diverse dietary requirements as best we could,” the organisation said.

“The volunteers came in their numbers to the Gift of the Givers office at 8pm to package the meals, while our medical teams emphasised social distancing (Covid-19 hasn’t gone anywhere) and even lent a hand at dishing out. Meals were delivered door to door at the various hotels. The requests for soap, toothpaste and personal hygiene items are overwhelming.”

The organisation will visit all accommodation sites to assess their needs first hand while volunteers prepare meals at Old Mutual West campus on 91 Jan Smuts Drive, Pinelands.

“The building has been generously offered to Gift of the Givers to collect all food and water items (no clothing required) and a kitchen to prepare meals three times a day.”

VIDEOS: Firefighters continue to battle Cape Town fires

Items required include water, Powerade, Energade, juices, cold drinks, biscuits, energy bars, muffins, tea, coffee, long life milk, sugar, rice, beans, oil, noodles, salt, spices, cereals, eggs, butter, jam, cheese and bread.

Soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet rolls, sanitary pads and hand sanitiser are essential personal hygiene requests. Gift of the Givers will provide protective masks.

Cash contributions are also welcome.

The city of Cape Town said donations can be dropped off at the Roeland Street fire station.

“Anyone who wishes to provide donations is advised that the four items required are water, Energade, energy bars and Eyegene. Any foodstuffs being donated have to be sealed in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.”

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