Call for community care

2016-07-12 11:06
Enver van der Schyff, who grew up with the family, in front of the home in Villa China off Worcester Road, Zonnebloem that was destroyed by fire.

Enver van der Schyff, who grew up with the family, in front of the home in Villa China off Worcester Road, Zonnebloem that was destroyed by fire. (Gary van Dyk)

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When disaster strikes a carer in the community, that community comes to her aid.

But help is needed to rebuild her life.

Fatima Brown, 64, has lived in China Villa off Worcester Road for most of her life and is known as “the” baker for functions in the community as well as a person who cares about her neighbours.
She’s always there to care for those in need and now her world is in turmoil after a fire destroyed her home on Saturday 2 July.
When she left home that afternoon to do some shopping for Eid she never knew that she would return to the total destruction of her home of the last 53 years.

Shafiek Abrahams, a neighbour in the area, explained that he was on his way home from mosque at about 19:45 when the word went out that Aunty Tiema’s (as she is affectionately known) house was on fire.

“In fact the call went out at the nearby mosque about the fire and everybody rushed out to see if they could help,” he says.

“My first thought was for Aunty Tiema but luckily she was not home. But by the time that we got there the home was completely engulfed by flames.”

As neighbours rally round to help Aunty Tiema her caring nature comes to the fore and she has more concern for the damage to her neighbour’s home.

“I’m devastated by losing everything in my home but the fire caused damage to the ceiling of my neighbour and I am so worried for them,” she says.

“For me I have accepted what has happened and believe Allah will see to my needs but I am worried about my neighbour Igsaan Damon’s home. His damages are my first concern.”

While the cause of the fire is still being investigated some believe that the caring nature of Brown may have played a part in the fire.
She explains that she had taken in a couple in need of a place to stay with their children who have just disappeared after the fire.

“I don’t know if their children were playing with candles or matches and started the fire but they’re just gone,” she says.

“I am not going to judge them but if it was an accident they must come forward to say what happened – not just run away.”
Enver van der Schyff, who grew up with the family and lives in a back section of the house that was not damaged, discovered the fire and raised the alarm.

“I wanted to go to the bathroom and when I opened the back door I saw the smoke and flames coming from their (the family who stayed there) room,” he says.

“It was terrible and there was nothing that I could do so I just went to get help.”

While Brown waits to find out if she will be able to move back to her home the love that she has always given her community is coming back to her.

“I must thank all my neighbours and family who have been caring for me,” she says.

“There have been so many people coming forward to find out if I am alright and how they can help. My dream, my wish is just to be able to move back if the house can be repaired,” she says.

Abrahams is adamant that their beloved Aunty Tiema must stay on in the area.

“Who else is going to make our tasty treats and bake for our birthdays and functions,” he jokes.

“But, on a serious note, we have to show how much we care about what she does in this community.

“Her door is never closed to those who need help. She cares so much for the seniors by going to hospital with them or collecting their medications and it’s all done with love.

“This is our opportunity to show that we appreciate all that she has done for us by helping her not just re-build her home, but also her life.

“If you’re part of this community or just want to show you care with skills and donations we’re calling on you to make a difference.”

For more information about the assistance needed Shafiek Abrahams can be contacted on 072 209 1201 or email

Fatima “Aunty Tiema” Brown, a carer in the community, is devastated after a fire destroyed her home.
PHOTO: Gary van Dyk


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