South Africa: UCT Students Stressed and Anxious After Evacuation From Catastrophic Mother City Fire


As the fire which erupted near Rhodes Memorial ravaged parts of UCT's upper campus, including the Jagger Library, students were evacuated to hotels around Cape Town. UCT suspended the academic programme for Monday and possibly Tuesday.

"A lot of things have happened in my life, but this was the scariest because we're basically watching things burn down. I know people who've lost all their belongings, [and] a part of the [Jagger] Library is gone," said Xoliswa Tsolo, a final-year UCT student, who lives a stone's throw away from Cadboll House, the UCT administrative building which was also burnt.

Tsolo was speaking to Daily Maverick outside the UCT Graduate Business School conference centre at the Waterfront. Students who still hadn't secured accommodation went to the campus and were then assisted with temporary accommodation at hotels.

The fire, which started near Rhodes Memorial at 8.45am on Sunday, spread to UCT's upper campus, and "completely gutted" the Reading Room at the Jagger Library, said Ujala Satgoor, the executive director of UCT Libraries. By Monday morning, the fire had spread to Vredehoek.

On Sunday morning, Tsolo saw the fire on the mountain. "I didn't think it was a big...

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