Cape Town – A devastating fire in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, last year killed two people and left 4 000 people homeless. A campaign now aims to equip those who live there with fire extinguishers to minimise future tragedy.
“When we heard about the fire we wanted to assist them,” said Travis Lyle, spokesperson for the AfrikaBurn event.
People gather once a year in the Karoo to create a temporary city of art, theme camps, costume, music and performance.
Watching burning sculptures is one of the highlights.
"The nature of our main event is fire and it’s obviously close to our hearts," said Lyle.
Lyle said they decided to assist the community through their outreach programme as some of their performers came from Masiphumelele and Ocean View.
“Many people had already donated money, wood, food, clothing and corrugated items. We were thinking of something longer term to prevent fires.”
They consulted with residents to make sure it was something they would be interested in. The initiative involved training them.
“One of the elements of that is you train people in firefighting so they have means and skills to fight fires themselves.”
Lyle said they hoped to raise R50 0000 through ticket seller Quicket for this purpose. The initiative had already received “great support”, he added.
A total of 1 123 structures burnt to the ground when a blaze ripped through the township near Noordhoek at the end of November.
A new fire station was being planned for Masiphumelele and was expected to cost between R12m and R14m, according to the city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.
He said they expected it to be completed by 2017.