ASEZ members in Cape Town, Rep. of South Africa, conducted wildfire recovery efforts.
On April 18, a fire broke out at Table Mountain in Rep. of South Africa, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The fire was put out in four days amid strong winds, but 600 hectares of forest were burned, and nearby eleven structures, including six buildings of University of Cape Town [UCT], were damaged.
On April 29, when the firefighting was completed to some extent, ASEZ members took part in recovery efforts for the damaged library by the request of University of Cape Town. The library was established about 200 years ago, housing more than 70,000 research papers from the entire African continent, thousands of video materials, government publications from various countries, and manuscripts kept for digitization. In addition, there were rare articles that were published in the 19th and early 20th centuries, so it was urgent to search for those materials and transfer them to a safe place.
Complying with the COVID-19 guidelines, ASEZ members and the church members lined up in a long line from the basement of the library to the ground floor to move out the crates filled with materials for a whole day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A graduate student of this university Nkanyiso Trevor Masombuka said, “It was so heart-breaking that even though the building comes back, the material will not come back. So, I participated in volunteering in order to help my school.” Principal Librarian Mandy Noble expressed her gratitude, saying, “They stayed all day and did amazing work in helping us when we were desperate for help. Particularly, they cleared one of our basement stores, and it helped a lot.” Museum’s Conservator Nancy Child Iziko said, “I really appreciate it and the UCT libraries also so appreciate your help. Your cheerfulness and positive spirit has made us so happy.”