There's just depression left here – Valhalla Park resident following blaze

2017-12-29 08:07
Christina Davids standing with a copy of Die Burger which featured the medal she discovered under an iron sheet. (James de Villiers, News24)

Christina Davids standing with a copy of Die Burger which featured the medal she discovered under an iron sheet. (James de Villiers, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – "We are depressed – there is just depression left here," Audrey-Ann Gamber, 49, says standing next to the empty plot of land in Valhalla Park where her corrugated iron home once stood.

"Here are looters. As we try to rebuild we must look after our stuff as well. It's tiring."

Gamber is one of an estimated 600 people rebuilding their lives after a blaze destroyed roughly 120 structures in the community early on Tuesday morning – hours after Christmas Day. 

She points to where she lay asleep when she was woken up by banging on the walls of her corrugated iron home. 

"You didn't think – you just ran. And we should be grateful, it could've been much worse. Luckily there are no skulls lying around here," Gamber says, frowning. 

"We must thank God for that."

Metres from where Gamber's family is putting up another dwelling out of timber and iron sheets supplied by the City of Cape Town, Christina Davids is still searching for remnants of her possessions. 

Read: Capetonians' 'excellent hearts' keep donations coming after Valhalla Park fire

"I am not doing it for myself but for my 16-year-old daughter," Davids, 49, explains. 

"She has nothing to remember her school days [by]. All her medals, all her certificates – gone."

Davids smiles, thinking of her daughter's half-melted medal that she found under an iron sheet following the blaze. 

"It's not the material possessions I'll miss, but the memories."

'We will start over again'

Davids explains that she had little time to grab any possessions because most residents mistook the fire for gang crossfire.

"We didn't go out, but only after a neighbour checked who was being shot at we realised that it's time to run," Davids says rubbing her eyes, which are still sore from smoke of the fire.

However, it soon dawned on a panicking Davids that there was no way she could save any of her possessions because a neighbour had restricted access to their section of the area by blocking off an alley after he was shot in a gang shooting.

fires
Audrey-Ann Gamber next to the empty piece of land where her home used to stand. (James de Villiers, News24)

While the City of Cape Town, with the help of its non-profit partner Mustadafin Foundation, has been supplying residents with food, clothes and building materials, it will take years for families to rebuild their lives.

Until then, Davids, a Rastafarian, says it's best to take things day by day. 

"We (Rastafarians) don't believe in vanity: if it has to burn it must burn down – we will only start over again."

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

And the Paws24 and Hill's winners are ...

Find out who the winners of our Paws24 pet pics and Q&a competitions are...

 

Paws

Keep your family and pets safe from rabies
5 scientific benefits of owning a cat
Why we love cats
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.