Category Archives: Lusaka

Sowetan: Fire leaves Nyanga families homeless

Fire leaves Nyanga families homeless

Dec 7, 2010 | Unathi Obose |

MORE than 20 Cape Town families were left homeless on Sunday night, after a fire swept through the Lusaka informal settlement in Nyanga.

Nobody was injured but the 22 families, who share 11 shacks in the area, lost all their possessions. A shipping container was also burnt to the ground.

The cause of the fire is still a mystery. But victims said it started in a locked shack and they suspected a gas stove caused the fire.

Saddened fire victims said they didn’t know what to do without their belongings.

“I received a call at 7pm while I was at work informing me that my shack had burnt down. I lost everything, including my baby’s clothes.

“I am left with only the clothes I am wearing now,” said Nosipho Vutuza, the mother of a 4-year-child.

Monde Madladla was asleep when the fire started.

“I saw smoke coming from my shack. I jumped up and ran out with a TV stand, chair and bed.

“All my other belongings got burnt because the fire engulfed my house very quickly,” Madladla said

Shoemaker Amandla Mnyaka, owner of the shipping container, said he was anxious about his customers’ shoes.

“I don’t know how I am going to pay them back, but I will tell them what happened. I lost everything. My machines were burnt and I will have to buy another container,” he said.

South African National Civic Organisation area committee member Lulamile Ngcane said the residents had asked ANC ward councillor Gladstone Ntamo for help.

But when contacted, Ntamo said he knew nothing about the fire.

“I am in a caucus meeting in Cape Town now and I have not received a report.”

The city’s public awareness manager , Charlotte Powell, said the housing department had provided the victims with starter kits to rebuild their dwellings.

She said the Mustadafin Foundation had taken hot meals, blankets, food parcels and clothing to victims.

The Battle of Foreman Road

By November 2005 Abahlali were ready to take on the mayor, Obed Mlaba. A march was scheduled from the Foreman Road settlement. The City Manager, a former Marxist academic, issued a diktat illegally banning the march. After careful discussion at a mass meeting it was decided to go ahead with the march. As people left the settlement they were savagely attacked by the police. There were 45 arrests and a number of serious injuries. System Cele, a young woman from Kennedy Road who had worked on the Hear Our Cries pamphlet, had her front teeth broken. The savagery of the police attack, and a fight back with stones that kept the police from entering the settlement, became a major national and then international story featuring on Al Jazeera and resulting in a full page article in the New York Times. The police attack in Foreman Road was quickly followed by illegal evictions from the nearby Lusaka settlement. The ban on Abahlali marching or protesting outside of the settlements stayed in force until late February the following year.

Flyer for the Foreman Road March on the Mayor:
foreman_rd.doc  74 KB

Abahlali Press Release on the Banning of the March:
smash sutcliffe 2.doc   25.5 KB

Freedom of Expression Institute Letter to the Municipality on the Banning of the March:
FXI_Letter_Ethekwini_Municipality.doc  47.5 KB

SABC and eTV video coverage of the Battle of Foreman Road
SABC1 News in Zulu
eTV News in English

IndyMedia Stories on the Battle of Foreman Road:

Photographs by Todd McPhearson & Raj Patel:,43,10,2291,43,10,2294

Article from The Mercury on the Battle of Foreman Road:

Freedom of Expression Institute Statement on the Police Attack:

The Lusaka Eviction: 'Starting from scratch after forced removal' by Anna Weekes plus background and pictures: