A call to action inspired a group to head into Johannesburg with food to help feed the firefighters but when they arrived, they realised they needed to do more.


The fire brought many people together. People went above and beyond to help wherever possible. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies recently shared a post about how they set out with the intention to feed the firefighters and ended up feeding hundreds of stranded students.

Through their new relief organisation, Zaka, they managed to collect enough to feed 100 of the firefighters. When they arrived in the city centre, they found 700 students that had evacuated the building next door to the fire. It was dark and cold, the students were surrounded by their most precious belongings. They had left so quickly they had nothing to eat or drink. They just stood by as the firefighters fought the raging fire next door.

When we arrived on the scene we discovered that the bigger looming crisis was that a group of 700 students who had been evacuated from their residence, a building next to the burnt one. They were standing with their bags in the square in front of the library as night set in, unsure where they would be spending the night, no food available and the anxiety of exams the following day.

Our focus then quickly changed to assisting these students. We realised that our 100 meals were grossly inadequate so we quickly set about sourcing additional food, not an easy task to procure that quantity of hot food late at night. The young student leaders were truly impressive, as they skilfully navigated this stressful situation. We worked closely with them in finding ways to address this serious situation. Their hot supper just after 9 pm, and the students were deeply appreciative, as we together to distribute the food.

Once every student and firefighter was fed and cared for, Zaka volunteers set their sights on heading home. They shared their amazing journey and all the people they met on the ground of the disaster.

It was a privilege to meet the courageous firefighters, the emergency personnel on the scene, the leadership of the Johannesburg City Council and the student leaders, and to see them in action. This was a dreadful situation and should never have happened, but we have remarkable Joburgers who try their best to improve the situation. It was wonderful working with the newly established Zaka team and we welcome them as an important addition to our community.

Their kind deed helped hundreds of lives, restoring hope and bolstering support.

Sources: Facebook
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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