STANDING among the ruins of her corrugated iron home in KwaDukuza, Lallie Gounden tries to fight back the tears as she recalls watching her home burn.
Gounden, 53, unemployed, shared the three-bedroom home with her sons Ashley, 33, and Bradley, 32, both self-employed, as well as Ashley’s wife, Jonelle, 22, and their 9-month-old daughter, Tais.
The home caught alight last Wednesday at about 7pm. The family was not at home when the fire started.
Her other son, Brandon, 28, who lives in a corrugated iron home next door, alerted Gounden to the fire.
“We were at a relative’s home a few doors away, when Brandon called me on my cellphone to tell us about the fire.
“When we returned home, the flames were already so high. Our neighbours called the fire department. Despite their efforts, everything we owned was destroyed, including my granddaughter’s clothing, toys and pram.”
Gounden said Ashley and Bradley had not worked since the lockdown started.
“We received food hampers and kept the groceries in a cupboard. It was meant to last for the rest of the month but everything was destroyed.”
She said she could not move in with Brandon and his wife and child because their home was too small to accommodate them all.
Gounden said their councillor made arrangements for them to stay at the Glenhills Resource Centre. “It is like a library. We are sleeping on mattresses in the hall and there is a bathroom where we freshen up.”
She said the community rallied and provided them with food, clothing and dishes.
“We are so grateful. This experience has been difficult for us.”
Gounden said they were trying to rebuild their home with the help of the Glenhills Helping Hands, a non-profit organisation.
Moola Moodley, from the organisation, said they needed building material to assist the family.
“So far we have managed to get the family a fridge, a microwave and a lounge set,” Moodley said.
Captain Nqobile Gwala, a provincial police spokesperson, said the cause of the fire was being investigated.
By Charlene Somduth May 6, 2020