Strauss’s Department Store made a donation of school uniform to two pupils from Mpendulo Primary School following a devastating fire that struck their home and destroyed all their belongings.
Manager Wayne Dedricks said they had received a letter from Charmaine Nell requesting a donation to help Gladys Mase, her domestic worker, whose family had fallen victim to a fire and took her nephew’s life.
Mase, who lives in Phola Park, recalled the day of the incident and described it as a tragic moment. “It was at about 8pm on a Friday in December and I was serving up supper for the family. My nine and 10-year-old grandchildren were with me and my nephew was in the other room. One of my grandchildren came running in, screaming ‘the house was on fire’ and my nephew was trapped inside. I wanted to save him so I tried to extinguish the fire with water, but it had already engulfed the room and the water was making the fire worse. We couldn’t save him. We lost everything in the room including school uniform and books,” she said
Mase said she was grateful and relieved to know her grandchildren would go to school wearing proper uniform and not be teased. “I am happy because they did not take it well. Some children would make fun of them and we had to borrow clothes from other family members.”
Dedricks said when they were approached they had to assist. “We had to step in because most of the schools in Komani and surrounding areas buy from Strauss’s and that is why we feel the need to reach out and help where we can.”
He indicated that the store catered for more than 80 schools and five of them were each given two sets of uniform (for a girl and a boy) this week. “We started this annual initiative last year when we gave uniform to underprivileged pupils. A year before, we donated soccer kit and are looking to do the same again with high schools this year. Our main branch in PE – T.Birch and Co – is doing the same. We plan to reach out to as many schools in the area as we possibly can,” Dedricks said
Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO