The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper


Blaze Forces Closure of Khayelitsha Library

Michael Hawthorne

The Khayelitsha Library, a cherished hub of knowledge and community engagement in the City of Cape Town, has been forced to temporarily close its doors after a fire broke out yesterday, February 1. The incident occurred shortly after the library closed for the day, with an apparent explosion in the server room triggering the unfortunate blaze.

The quick response of the librarian in charge and a vigilant security guard, who heard the unusual sounds, undoubtedly averted a total disaster. Nearby community members, initially gathered for a meeting at the adjacent hall, rushed to assist, joined promptly by firefighters who managed to extinguish the flames swiftly.

City officials expressed gratitude that there were no patrons or additional staff within the premises at the time of the incident. Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross, extended her appreciation to the residents who courageously assisted in the crisis. However, she expressed sadness over the temporary unavailability of the facility to its patrons and community programs.

“We are grateful there were no patrons or other staff in the building at the time. I also want to thank the residents who assisted and rushed to help. I am saddened that the facility will now be unavailable to its many patrons and programs which benefit the community. Residents can rest assured that we will do our best to get it back up and running as soon as possible,” said Councillor Patricia van der Ross.

The Khayelitsha Library, with approximately 4,000 monthly visitors, plays a crucial role in community life. While the closure will disrupt ongoing programs, the dedicated librarians plan to continue outreach initiatives by visiting Early Childhood Development Centers (ECDs) and schools.

The building, currently open for drying and smoke dissipation, remains closed to patrons until further notice. The cause of the fire and the estimated cost of repairs are yet to be determined. Meanwhile, library patrons are encouraged to utilize alternative facilities such as Moses Mabhida, Kulani, and Masakhane. Renewals can be made by contacting any other library, and fines incurred during the closure period will be waived, as noted by the City of Cape Town. The community is optimistic that the Khayelitsha Library will soon resume its essential role in fostering knowledge, education, and community engagement.

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