In her own words: UCT student on returning to campus after the fire

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On the morning of April 18, a fire started near Rhodes Memorial, Devil’s Peak in Table Mountain National Park. Driven by strong winds, it reached the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Rondebosch campus. On Friday April 23, The Daily Vox team spoke to a third year student about her experience. 

We came back Thursday 22 April. Inside there’s not much damage but at the gate area there’s a lot of damage. The bathrooms are dirty because of the ashes but the rooms are intact. Before our return, we received an email about the rebuilding of the damaged buildings and the returning of students on campus. Fuller Hall has no roof. It was damaged by the Cape Town fires so the students are not back yet, they’ve been put in other places to stay for now.

Read more: In their own words: UCT students speak about their evacuation

We were evacuated the very day the fire started, before it got to UCT. We first went to the main campus then we were taken to Mowbray bus station, all the Jammies came and took the students to different hotels. 

At first we were at the business school campus at the Waterfront, that’s where they gave us food while we were waiting to be allocated. We were specifically taken to Victoria Junction, a hotel in Green Point, and others were at Fire and Ice and surrounding hotels. The procedure was fast and good. 

The Cape Town fires didn’t affect our academic work as UCT put them on hold that week. 

At this moment, I’m fine. It’s just that sometimes when I hear sirens I’m like, ‘OMG it’s starting again’. It makes me nervous. 

I’m shocked to see the damage it caused but I’m sure UCT will recover. 

We had a fire drill a week before the fire so we were prepared but we just didn’t know what to take. We mostly took the important things – phones, laptops. No clothes or toiletries. We didn’t think it was going to be that bad, we didn’t think it would reach us because it was at Rhodes Memorials.

Members of the University of Cape Town (UCT) community assisted with the evacuation – giving their time and energy to volunteer and fundraising efforts, and finding other ways to help and encourage one another.

#UCTWillRiseAgain and it’s encouraging students and staff members to share their stories. No matter how big or how small.

Please email your stories, photos and videos to newsdesk@uct.ac.za, with your name and contact details.

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