Sadness and sorrow were deeply etched on the faces of KTC residents and community leaders when a fire killed three friends in the early hours of Tuesday December 10.
Zizipho Hlakula, 21, Archibold Makoro, 24 and Farai Magomo, 43, were all asleep when the fire swept through their three-roomed shack in Saba Street, just after 5am.
Mr Magomo, who is from Zimbabwe, had been renting the shack for more than 10 years and was sharing it with his two friends when the fire broke out.
It is believed that the fire may have been caused by faulty electrical cables.
When Vukani visited the area a few hours after the fire, residents and Magomo family members were waiting for the bodies to be taken away by the Emergency Medical and Forensic Pathology Services.
Mr Magomo’s elder brother, Innocent Magomo, said he received a call from his sister who lives in Philippi to inform him that his brother’s shack had been engulfed by fire.
But he said it never crossed his mind that the fire might have killed him and he only thought that it destroyed the shack.
A visibly emotional Mr Magomo said his initial response was simply that they needed to put some money together to help their brother rebuild his shack.
However, he said his sister called again informing him that his brother died in the fire.
“I could not believe it. I quickly rushed to his place and when I got here I did not see him. And it was then that it struck me that indeed he had died in the fire. I don’t know how to explain how I feel about this. I just lost a pillar of strength. He was still too young to die and he leaves three children back home. I feel numb and I have no idea how I will sleep tonight. We had a very special bond and relationship. My life will never be the same again.”
Mr Magomo said he wanted to bury his brother in his home country but will then have to wait for all the necessary processes to be conducted before he could take the body.
He described his late brother as a people’s person who loved his family dearly.
Landlord Minah Maluka, who lives in the formal house, said she had rented out the shack at the back of her house 10 years ago to Mr Magomo.
Ms Maluka said Mr Magomo had been a good tenant.
The 69-year-old pensioner said she woke up in the early hours of the morning when she noticed that there was something burning. She said she discovered that the shack was on fire and called for help.
Ms Maluka said when she realised that her tenants were inside she wept silently as she knew that they had died.
She said she has no idea how she would live without Mr Magomo who had become like a son to her. According to the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Jermaine Carelse, the fire was extinguished shortly after 6am.
Neighbour Lungiswa Malunga said she had known Mr Magomo for more than 10 years and he was a friendly person. Ms Malunga said it had not yet sunk in that he was gone and expressed condolences to his family.