My wonderful cleaning lady, Nomfuneko, lives in an informal settlement In Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Her mother died unexpectedly a few years ago, and since then she has been raising her teenaged sister, (who I’ll refer to as ‘T’) who has just finished high school. T earned a place at the University of the Western Cape to study physiotherapy.
Nomfuneko has two children of her own, aged 10 and 2. T has a part-time job now, and looks after the children while Nomfuneko works as a cleaner to support the 4 of them.
Last week, their biggest worry (despite yeh unfortunately typical poverty in which they live) was not being able to afford a smartphone for T as she enters her first year of adulthood. They’ve been sharing a phone for a while now. T went out and got herself a part time job to save up for her phone and uni expenses.
Three days ago, a drunken brawl in the settlement broke out and locals burned down the shack of a man living near Nomfuneko. The wind must’ve caught the flames, or the tiny gap between homes was too tiny to make a difference, and their home burnt down. Luckily both children were saved by a neighbour, who also had the wherewithal to throw whatever children’s clothes she could into a suitcase.
This family of four now has nothing. They have nowhere to live, no clothes save the contents of the suitcase, no food, no blankets, no pots and pans. Nothing. They are relying on the kindness of family and neighbours to have a roof over their heads.
In this time of abundance, where so many of us have fridges stocked full of food in time for the family Christmas, where there are presents piled around the tree, this family has nothing.
While the local Distater Relief team will provide 7 zinc sheets for Nomfuneko to build the roof of the structure she will hope to call home again, their response time is slow and all other building materials have to be bought at her own cost.
I am aiming to raise R10000 (approx £600 or $800) to go towards the building materials which have to be bought to rebuild their home. Any contribution that you can make, no matter how small, will be very, very welcome.
Photos are indicative of the devastation of such fires and are not of the real events. Images belong to SweepSouth, Primedia & GroundUp.