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In front with her child in her arms is Damaris Verveen, whose house in Westenburg burnt down last Tuesday. With her are some of the locals who are helping to rebuild her home. They are Stephen Monyai, Ward 19 committee, community safety portfolio, Elvis Makgethakgeta, builder, Rhyno Nel, Tshukudu Maintenance and Repairs, as well as a member of Westenburg V-Dub, Ray Goulkan, Chair of Westenburg Community Forum, Stuurman Mashimpye, Ward 19 committee, secretary and local economic desk and finance, Dooly Chothia, Imraan Bhamjee and Arief Valjie.

Families arise from ashes


Three Westenburg families who lost their homes in separate fires over the last 12 months say they do not know where they would be without the help of their neighbours, the Muslim community of Nirvana and other individuals.
Several individuals and business owners have stepped up to assist the three families buy rebuilding and repairing their homes. Also involved is the Ward 19 committee, represented by Stuurman Mashimpye and Stephen Monyai as well as Ray Goulkan, Chair of the Westenburg Community Forum.
The most recent victim was Damaris Verveen, who house burnt down last Tuesday. Verveen said she could not express her gratitude enough to everyone who has helped them. She said her house would have been burnt to the ground were it not for neighbours, Edward Marshall, Danny Mothiba and Christopher Murigan, who were quick to respond and fought the fire. “Also my neighbour, Andriese Verveen, has been so kind by cooking meals for us and helping where she can. My sister, Prieska Southon has been a life saver as well,” Verveen said.
The other two houses being rebuilt and repaired are those of Johanna and Jones Moremela, and Christine Marshall. The Moremelas also said they were immensely grateful for the help they have, and are receiving in repairing their partly burnt down home. Marshall was unavailable to speak to the media.
Speaking on behalf of the samaritans, Imraan Bhamjee said the project is being very strictly monitored to ensure that all donations received are used for what they were intended.
“We have not received any money, but rather have been pleased to receive building materials, people’s skills and their time,” he explained.
He added that at the moment, they are still short of some materials such as roofing and glass for the windows.
Bhamjee also expressed his appreciation towards everyone who made the project possible. “There are too many to name but they know who they are.”
Rhyno Nel from Tshukudu Maintenance and Repairs, an emerging business, said he feels it is his Christian duty to help others. “God put me on the road to help these people, we need to all stand together and help make our community a better place,” he said.
Anyone who would like to assist in any way to ensure these homes are completed can contact Bhamjee on 076 220 3564, Goulkan on 083 358 4982 or Mashimpye on 072 423 8885.

Story and photos: KAREN VENTER

Jones Moremela inside his rebuilt home, which still needs a roof.

Christine Marshall’s home was burnt to the ground and is still in the process of being rebuilt.