‘We are all in this together’

20 April 2021 | Story Niémah Davids. Photo Rodger Bosch / AFP via Getty Images. Read time 4 min.
UCT students are encouraged to make use of the DSA’s satellite clinics for medical assistance, as well as trauma debriefing and counselling.
UCT students are encouraged to make use of the DSA’s satellite clinics for medical assistance, as well as trauma debriefing and counselling.

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Student Wellness Service (SWS) has set up satellite medical service points at student accommodation sites across the Mother City to provide health and psychosocial support to students affected by the runaway fires at the weekend.

UCT evacuated 4 000 students from residences on Sunday, 18 April, as flames roared through the university’s upper campus in Rondebosch, causing massive destruction. Several historical buildings, including the Jagger Reading Room, have been gutted.

On the back of this, students have been placed in temporary accommodation in the city and the humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers is preparing and distributing their daily meals.

Roving medical support groups

To help affected students come to terms with this traumatic event, Dr Memory Muturiki, the director of the SWS, said that satellite clinics have been set up at most accommodation sites. The clinics offer students medical assistance, as well as trauma debriefing and counselling.

 

“Students are not alone; we are here to provide care and support. We are all in this together.”

“We understand that this is a very distressing situation … for all of us. By Sunday evening we had set up nursing and counselling hubs at [most] of the hotels. Students are not alone; we are here to provide care and support. We are all in this together,” Dr Muturiki said.

The Department of Student Affairs’ (DSA) clinical teams are supported by alumni and volunteers from the campus community. External UCT stakeholders, which include Higher Health, a non-profit organisation that works in several areas to promote the health and well-being of students across South Africa’s public universities and technical and vocational training colleges, are also on site to provide assistance.  

Muturiki commended everyone for their unwavering support and “outpouring of love and care” for the students.

“The response from volunteers has been truly heart-warming, and all that’s left to say is: Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said.

Suspended academic programme

Meanwhile, UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng announced this morning [Tuesday, 20 April] that the academic programme will remain suspended until Friday, 23 April. The respective faculties will communicate directly with students as to how they will manage the lost week.

 

“I would like to convey my gratitude for the commitment you have all shown and the help you are all giving in the interest of the university.”

Professor Phakeng said that a massive clean-up operation is under way on campus, and that the DSA should start moving students back to residences from their emergency accommodation on Wednesday, 21 April.

“Thank you very much to all of you for your support and hard work. On behalf of the leadership of UCT, I would like to convey my gratitude for the commitment you have all shown and the help you are all giving in the interest of the university,” she said. 

Those who need support can reach out to an SWS representative on site or call 021 650 1271 / 021 650 5620 for group-session details. Students are reminded that they can still make use of all SWS offerings and that the main clinic remains open for students to collect their medication. Students can also book a counselling appointment. The 24-hour counselling service remains up and running and students can contact 0800 24 25 26 or text 31393 and a counsellor will phone back.

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Updates on Campus Fire


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Memories of Jagger Library – stories from the UCT community



Content submitted by members of the UCT community has been published with little to no editorial intervention from UCT News.

#UCTFire – stories from the UCT community



Content submitted by members of the UCT community has been published with little to no editorial intervention from UCT News. 

 

In an email to UCT students, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“Thank you for your patience as we seek ways to return to full academic activity at the University of Cape Town under COVID-19 regulations. Our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of everyone who needs to return to campus buildings.”

UCT is deeply grateful to all the donors who supplied food and other essential items for our students, and to everyone who has so generously offered other forms of support and assistance.

Everyone who would like to support the #UCTFire emergency relief fund is urged to please make financial donations to UCT through the UCT Alumni Ways to Give web page.

Donations can also be made by EFT using the details below:
Account name: UCT Donations Account
Bank: Standard Bank of South Africa
Branch code: Rondebosch Branch, 025009
Account number: 07 152 2387
Swift code: SBZAZAJJ
Please include your donor name if you so wish, as well as the reference for your donation, e.g. Name Surname, #UCTFire.

Messages of support


Cengage EMEA 17:00, 7 June 2021
Ricardo de Sao Joao 16:00, 17 May 2021
J.P. Morgan 10:00, 17 May 2021
Unilever Southern Africa 16:10, 6 May 2021
Iziko Museums of South Africa 16:20, 5 May 2021
Sciences Po, France 10:05, 4 May 2021
The University of Tokyo 09:00, 30 April 2021
McCall MacBain Foundation 16:00, 29 April 2021
Stephen Toope, Chair of IARU 23:50, 27 April 2021
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The National Archives (UK) 17:40, 27 April 2021
Universiteit Antwerpen 16:20, 26 April 2021
Yale University 21:15, 23 April 2021
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University of Nairobi 15:45, 23 April 2021
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University of Glasgow 11:20, 23 April 2021
Durham University 18:20, 22 April 2021
Sanlam Corporate Team 16:00, 22 April 2021
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Mastercard Foundation 13:30, 22 April 2021
National Research Foundation 09:05, 22 April 2021
Taylor & Francis 08:20, 22 April 2021
McGill University, Canada 21:35, 21 April 2021
Wild Bean Café 19:50, 21 April 2021
Worldwide Universities Network 19:10, 21 April 2021
University of Groningen 13:35, 21 April 2021
National University of Lesotho 11:00, 21 April 2021
Google South Africa 10:35, 21 April 2021
Chinese Ambassador Chen Xiaodong 09:00, 21 April 2021
George Whitefield College 08:40, 21 April 2021
Virginia Tech 02:00, 21 April 2021
University of Southampton 18:10, 20 April 2021
University of the Free State 17:25, 20 April 2021
KU Leuven 15:45, 20 April 2021
Northwestern University 15:45, 20 April 2021
Council on Higher Education 14:00, 20 April 2021
Times Higher Education 11:45, 20 April 2021
Regent Business School 11:15, 20 April 2021
Professor Crain Soudien 09:05, 20 April 2021
University of the Western Cape 09:00, 20 April 2021
Bishop Tshalo Katshunga 07:30, 20 April 2021
National Library of France 20:50, 19 April 2021
Thabo Mbheki Foundation 20:00, 19 April 2021
Stellenbosch University 19:10, 19 April 2021
Chinese Embassy in South Africa 17:20, 19 April 2021
University of Hull 17:00, 19 April 2021
University of Copenhagen 13:25, 19 April 2021
Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies 13:10, 19 April 2021
Mastercard Foundation 10:50, 19 April 2021
Stellenbosch University 09:20, 19 April 2021
Minister Blade Nzimande 09:15, 19 April 2021
Committee on Higher Education 09:10, 19 April 2021
University of the Witwatersrand 09:05, 19 April 2021
University of Pretoria 09:00, 19 April 2021

 

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