Cape Town has united to support heroic firefighters that have been battling a blaze that started near Rhodes Memorial on Sunday morning. The fire has already destroyed the Rhodes Memorial Tea Room, part of the African Studies Library at UCT, and the iconic Mostert’s Mill.

High winds have contributed to the spread of the out-of-control wildfire that is threatening houses in Rondebosch, Newlands, Zonnebloem, and Vredehoek. Already, businesses and the public have mobilised to help both our heroes on the frontline and the more than 4000 students from UCT that have been displaced from residences by the fire.

The City’s Air Quality Monitoring Unit has recorded very high levels of particulate matter (PM10 and PM 2.5) at the Foreshore Monitoring Station.

Asthmatics and other sensitive receptors with respiratory conditions are urged to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed, or alternatively leave the area if possible and to seek medical attention if respiratory distress is experienced

Here are some of the things that Capetonians have been doing to help, and how you can get involved too:

Help the Firefighters

Donations have been pouring in to help the brave women and men who are battling the blaze. Public donations towards the firefighting efforts can be dropped off at the Roeland Street fire station. Anyone who wishes to provide donations is advised that the firefighters currently have sufficient water but items such as Energade, snacks and eye drops can make a huge difference.

Those wishing to make a financial donation can donate to Volunteer Wildfire Service (VWS)

Give to Gift of the Givers

Gift of the Givers is assisting those from UCT affected by the fire. They have prepared meals for students who needed to be evacuated. Gift of the Givers has been requested to assist with the managing of meal preparation and other essentials for the next week, whilst alternative accommodation is being sought.

Old Mutual has made a venue available to Gift of the Givers as a donation drop-off site, which will be available from 8am on Monday morning. Items required are as follows:

Water, Powerade, Energade, juices, cool drinks, biscuits, energy bars, muffins, tea, coffee, long-life milk, sugar, rice, beans, oil, noodles, salt, spices, cereals, eggs, butter, jam, cheese and bread.

Soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet rolls, sanitary pads and hand sanitiser are essential personal hygiene requests.

Vodacom has stepped up to the plate and has donated R3 million to Gift of the Givers – a huge donation that will go a long way to supporting those affected by the fires.

Support the Gift of the Givers here:


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Hotel Heroes

Several Cape Town hotels, including The President Hotel, have offered accommodation for displaced UCT Students.

This comes at a time when many hotels are suffering due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and we commend them for their willingness to help.

Give Religious Organisations A Helping Hand

It’s important to note that it is currently Ramadaan and many displaced Muslim students require help. Tennyson and Addison Street Mosques in Salt River have invited UCT students for Iftaar inshaAllah.

Common Ground Church is offering a gathering and accommodation site for 350 students. They are also in the process of trying to match students who need help with those who can provide help with accommodation

The V&A Waterfront Helps Out

The Den Anker restaurant at the Waterfront was one of the first to respond to the calls for help from displaced students. They’re offering free meals all week for students with a valid student card.

Makers Landing in the Waterfront is giving students vouchers and free wifi, and The Cape Wheel is providing packages and offering students a free ride to help get their minds off the tragedy.

Assist while you shop

Customers can purchase some of the recommended items in store and add them to the collection points. The goods will be distributed to the fire crews and evacuated students and displaced residents.

Monetary donations can also be made at till points and Pick n Pay customers can also donate their SmartShopper points to the fire relief efforts.

Don’t forget about the animals

The SPCA, PDSA and Frits Dog Hotel have opened their doors to assist people evacuating their animals free of charge.

The SPCA has always asked that members of the public near to active fire zones keep shallow bowls full of water in their gardens for wild animals that manage to escape the flames.

Cape Town Map of businesses helping