Cape Town – Displaced UCT students who were evacuated during last month’s wildfire have returned to their residences.
UCT student representative council (SRC) chairperson Declan Dyer said the past week has been traumatic for many students. Dyer said that with the majority of evacuated students back in residence, it was time for deep reflection and gratitude.
The Table Mountain fire affected large parts of the UCT’s Rondebosch campus on April 18, resulting in the emergency evacuation of about 4 000 students. While most were put up in more than 20 hotels across the city, others were taken in by friends and family members.
“I wanted to begin by honouring the members of the SRC, all student leaders across structures, activists of political organisations and the community, and all other students who came together to lead and support the efforts on the ground,” said Dyer.
He said that included those who contributed to their evacuation efforts, assisted with co-ordination, or volunteered their time and resources at the Graduate School of Business, Hiddingh Campus and across hotels.
UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said she was deeply appreciative of the role played by the SRC, and so many of their staff in ensuring that the evacuation was completed safely.
Kopano warden Associate Professor Sure Mataramvura said he was grateful the students were able to return to their residences safely.
“In a disaster, things are never 100% smooth, but I really appreciate what UCT has been doing. It was quite a challenging situation, but we did our best,” said Mataramvura.
Kopano resident Siphuvuyo Mnxunyeni said: “Well, I’m not happy to be back… I won’t lie. I was living the soft life, so it’s a pity that all came to an end. But at the same time, business had to be done because we’re here to study.”