A 17-month-old boy, Kungawo Mondile, became the first victim — according to residents — to die in a shack fire in Bobani Village informal settlement. The fire happened on Tuesday night in area 11 in Gunguluza, KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage.
“The last time I saw my son was in the morning, the day he died,” said the boy’s father, Xolani Skwati. “Ngawo [Kungawo] was playing alone in front of his mom’s shack. I didn’t want him to see me, because he would cry and want to go with me.”
“It was about 11pm when I came to the scene. The fire was eating the shack very fast. My son was inside the burning shack. His mom, Nomaxabiso, was screaming, ‘My child!’ She had to be pulled away as she lunged towards the scorching flames,” he said.
“I had slept in Duduza, because I wanted to be closer to taxis as I planned to look for a job the next day,” said Skwati.
Kungawo’s mother, Nomaxabiso Mondile, had left her shack to join other area committee members on a routine patrol. The looting of people’s building material, such as zinc sheets, doors, and planks has become a problem for the neighbourhood. Hundreds of people have built shacks but have not yet occupied them. The area has no toilets, no electricity and no street lights, but new tarred roads and street names.
On Thursday afternoon, Skwati visited the scene of the fire. There were burnt potatoes, clothes and a