Thanking those that kept us safe

06 May 2021 | Story Nadja Daehnke. Photo Nadja Daehnke. Read time 2 min.
Firefighting heroes worked tirelessly to douse the fire that raged on Table Mountain and on UCT’s upper campus.
Firefighting heroes worked tirelessly to douse the fire that raged on Table Mountain and on UCT’s upper campus.

On a lazy Sunday I was planning a picnic with my husband; the Curator of the Collection, Kathy, was enjoying her day off; an art-moving contractor, Phillip, was making Breyani for his family, whilst Andre, another art moving contractor, was busy with is customary Sunday braai. Little did the four of us know that these plans would be interrupted by fire!

Picnic basket in boot, car rolling in the direction of the beach, I looked to Rosebank and saw massive smoke right there where our university – and the UCT Irma Stern Museum – stand. A call to Bernard Soules confirmed the rising panic – yes, we had to start thinking of evacuating the cultural heritage that is housed in the museum.

A mad rush through the traffic to the museum was followed by wielding hosepipes to douse the flames – by now across the road from the museum – with Phillip and Andre standing with art-moving equipment at the ready, waiting for the word to start emptying the museum. Luckily our firefighting heroes with two massive fire trucks managed to contain the blaze. They were not the only heroes though, as CPS joined them that afternoon and throughout the night to make sure that there was no flare-up. Indeed, at 5.45am the next morning a tree started smouldering again, but thanks to additional fast action by CPS and a neighbour, this too was quickly extinguished.

In the rush I did not get to know the names of all the CPS officers and firefighters (though I do remember a very efficient Mr Hendricks and Kassiem), but the ISM team wants all CPS, all firefighters, all contractors involved to know how grateful we were that you saved the UCT Irma Stern Museum from the flames.

Massive thank you also to Bernard Soules for his level-headed advice, and to Team ISM (especially Kathy Wheeler and Aldane Daniels) for being there during the ordeal, and for the ash-sweeping afterwards!

Nadja Daehnke

Director, UCT Irma Stern Museum

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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


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
Mazi Asset Management 21:00, 27 April 2021
The National Archives (UK) 17:40, 27 April 2021
Universiteit Antwerpen 16:20, 26 April 2021
Yale University 21:15, 23 April 2021
SOAS University of London 17:00, 23 April 2021
University of Nairobi 15:45, 23 April 2021
Zhejiang University 12:05, 23 April 2021
University of Glasgow 11:20, 23 April 2021
Durham University 18:20, 22 April 2021
Sanlam Corporate Team 16:00, 22 April 2021
MANCOSA 16:00, 22 April 2021
Worldwide Universities Network 19:10, 21 April 2021
Chinese Ambassador Chen Xiaodong 09:00, 21 April 2021
University of the Western Cape 09:00, 20 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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