By Selenathi Botha
Juliall Goba’s house burnt to ashes in Makhanda’s Sun City while he was inside, but luckily he survived. He owns the house with his partner, Arril Shavens and they lived with their five-year-old daughter and one-month-old baby son. But on that horrible day, Shavens and the children had visited their aunt, leaving Goba at home, never thinking that something terrible would happen.
Goba was sleeping when he was awakened by smoke filling the house at around 3am. “I don’t know what caused the fire, because I had switched off everything connected to the electricity, and the fire started at the door. This confuses me,” he said. Goba told Grocott’s Mail that the fire escalated so fast that he got trapped and had nowhere to run to. He couldn’t escape through the door, which was on fire so he kicked out, looking for a soft spot that he could use to escape.
He burnt his hands and feet escaping the house and was unable to save any of the family’s belongings. The house burnt to ashes and Goba and Shavens lost everything they had, including their furniture, food, and their clothes too. Goba says he managed to save himself with the help of the community.
The community members tried to save the house using their own water – the same water that is so scarce in Makhanda – but this was impossible. The Sun City community has only one tap. When water is available, there is a long line of people trying to fill buckets which means nobody has much water stored up. This community used to have a JoJo tank where people could draw water on water-shedding days. It was supplied by the Gift Of The Givers but the municipality has not filled the tank with water for two years.
The family has suffered a great loss, especially now that it’s winter. Both parents are unemployed and have moved in with relatives. They are heartbroken and say they would love to receive support from people, such as materials to rebuild the home, clothes for the adults and children (the baby is now two months old and their daughter is five), and any household goods. To contribute, please contact 078 215 7309.