Alexandra has a long history of poverty and overcrowding. Several studies on the communities of Alexandra indicate high levels of poverty resulting from lack of skills, unemployment, and retrenchment. The informal settlement is characterised by corrugated iron shacks, lacking in basic needs such as food and clothing, improper toilet facilities, absence of employment opportunities, drug, and alcohol abuse.
When the news of fires broke out, the foundation visited the affected area to assess to extent of damage and share a word of comfort and encouragement to the community. In addition, the foundation donated some clothing to the community to share.
The Thuma Foundation team was taken through the affected area and briefed by the Johannesburg Disaster Management Team on the extent of the damage. The situation presents grave danger should the cables fall and land on structures. In 2005, Eskom appealed to the public to stop building houses or dwellings underneath power lines. Further, it is cautioned that people who build houses or dwellings directly under power lines not only breaking the law but put themselves, their families and their possessions at serious risk as these lines are not insulated and carry the power of a very high voltage. If the power line drops onto the roof, the roof becomes live as most of these houses are roofed with corrugated iron.
If the rubble is left far too long, it will eventually serve as a dumping site. Dumped materials pose serious health and safety risks to the community and particularly the children who may pick, eat or play with them. Contaminated waste can spread disease and sharp objects can physically harm people or may be used as weapons.
In Africa, there is a concept known as ‘ubuntu’ – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievement of others.— Nelson Mandela
The foundation believes that giving back to society in some shape or form, is likely to be an idea that will stick with the people. In that manner, behaviours are contagious. Giving strengthens communities and contributes to nation-building.