Where is the crowd-funding for the destitute?

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Aviwe Matiwane overlooks the place where her house used to be. (Paul Herman, News24)
Aviwe Matiwane overlooks the place where her house used to be. (Paul Herman, News24)

Maxine Becket

If there's one thing about South Africans, it's our ability to come together when disaster strikes.

This week saw the devastation of homes and lives in the Western Cape by gale force winds, fires and rain, causing flooding in some areas.

It didn't take long for South Africans to start crowd funding for the families affected by the fires in Knysna, offer their homes and start Facebook groups to help find people who went missing in the chaos. These acts are to be admired and it probably made things a little easier for those who lost their homes to the fires.

But the efforts are slightly skewed.

Where was the crowd funding or private sector to offer time, money or blankets to our brothers and sisters in Mfuleni or Lavender Hill, who just hours before the fires in Knysna, also lost everything?

It must be difficult watching your every possession go up in flames, trying to salvage what you can. Imagine that happening twice.

Our people in Imizamo Yethu don't have to. They rebuilt their lives after a fire ravaged through the informal settlement just two months ago and now they have to do it again after powerful winds swept through the area, taking with it anything in its path.

Where are the offers for accommodation for these people? They are the destitute folk who don't have resources to provide for themselves. These are our people in Imizamo Yethu, Mfuleni and Khayelitsha - already dirt poor yet no drop off point for groceries has been arranged for them, after the little they had is gone.

Where do we suppose they will go after everything has settled? They do not have insurance to cover them. They do not have a lifeline.

They are destitute. Destitute.

Of course, our hearts go out to those who lost their homes to the brutal fires in Knysna, it's a tragedy and it's sad. Maybe we can't compare the severity of the fires to the storm in Cape Town or the devastation suffered. We can't help everyone. But we do know that some are more "destitute" than others and while some are able to get into their cars and drive to a new beginning others are trying to figure out how they are going to start over, for a third time.

- Maxine Becket is a content producer at News24.

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