PICS: Scores of school children lose everything in blaze

2015-11-13 08:33
School children in Kya Sands, Johannesburg after losing everything in a blaze. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

School children in Kya Sands, Johannesburg after losing everything in a blaze. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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Johannesburg - Kya Sands school children, whose homes were destroyed by the fire, say they may not be able to go back to school after losing their school uniforms and textbooks in the blaze that ravaged their informal settlement.

Scores of school children - many of them matriculants - lost their school books, textbooks, and uniforms when the raging inferno swept through 200 shacks in Msawawa informal settlement near Kya Sands, north of Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Hundreds of families remained homeless as a result of the blaze. 

Grade 11 pupil, Shelly Mauku said she had lost all her books and stationary to the flames. Mauku told News24, she could not afford to buy a new school uniform.

“I was hoping that my uniform would last me till I finish matric. I don’t know how we can afford a new uniform at home. We have to start over. The last thing my family can think of now is my uniform. I will have to work next year. I have no choice because they will not allow me [to go to school] if I do not wear a uniform,” she said.

A grandmother of three, Ntombentsha Klass said she was afraid that she would have to choose between her three grandchildren. She said she could not afford to buy the necessary school supplies needed for them to complete the year.

Klass said her grandchildren, 10, 11, and 15 were all without school books and uniforms after the fire destroyed their home.

“I don’t know how I will be able to provide for their school clothes and books. I have to make a difficult choice. I lost my ID during the fire and I can't see how I will be able to provide for all of them. It’s up to God now,” she told News24.

'Need help'

Speaking to talk radio 702, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said 27 of those displaced learners were matriculants, who would be writing their final exams in a few days’ time.

Lesufi said they would be able to provide the students with learning materials but they needed help providing for schools uniforms. He added that the education department would also assist students who were unable to finish their exams this year, by allowing them to write supplementary exams next year.

Dozens of shack dwellers were starting to rebuild their shacks when News24 visited the informal settlement on Thursday afternoon. Some residents said they could not rebuild because their material was destroyed during the fire.

Remnants of belongings lay bare in the ruins. Some people were walking around their burnt shacks trying to uncover some of their belongings which had been spared by the blaze.

A Gift of the Givers Foundation truck handed out food parcels containing rice and beans to hundreds who were waiting in line. Many of those were women and children. Also on the scene were social development officials who were taking the details of displaced shack dwellers.

Pictures by Lizeka Tandwa, News24.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  fires

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