The car community has come forward once again to help out, this time after a tragedy that has rocked the people of the Cape Flats, and left one family desolate.
On June 11 just after 8am a deadly fire ripped through the home of Patrick Abrahams in Eastridge, Mitchells Plain, killing eight people, seven of whom were family members.
The tragedy is too overwhelming to comprehend.
While various governmental agencies have been looking into how best to help Patrick, the community has been stepping forward. And who else but the mense from the Cape car community.
Bobby Nitro spoke to Sugen Chetty, the chairman of club Aircooled Fanatics.
Sugen says: “In May we did a blanket drive in the area, and I suppose that was fresh in people’s minds, so after this fire a friend contacted me and we went through to Eastridge on that tragic Saturday.
“I spent the day with the Abrahams, supporting and helping with food and clothing. It was then that we decided to organise an event for the very next weekend, and put the word out on social media.”
Facebook is the mainstay of the car community, and soon the word was out.
Sugen says: “I ended up spending much of the week with the Abrahams, doing what I could. I started off as a stranger, then I became a friend, now I feel like part of the family.”
Sugen says: “We arranged for people to meet at the Westgate Mall parking lot, from midday. It was raining and cold, but that did not hinder the up to 500 cars that came through.
“Most people dropped in and moved on, it was terrible weather for a park-off, but they came and they brought clothing, food and donations.”
Before the afternoon was out, the crew had collected R20 408 in cash donations, not including some EFTs later, as well as plenty of food and clothing.
It was a good thing that Nissan Trucks was around, to transport the goods to the various places they were needed.
Badreon Cassiem of the Nissan bakkie brigade tells Bobby Nitro: “We felt honoured to be able to contribute, to just do the carting. There were six bakkies full of clothing, groceries, blankets and more that we transported.
“Even though it rained cats and dogs, it was a fantastic turnout. But it started slow, at just before 12, I was there with Sugen and Patrick Abrahams and there was not a car in sight. Then they just started rolling in.
“Sugen really got the clubs to come through – Static Slaves, Outlaw Stance, Opel Junkies, Mk1 Crew, Mk2 Familia, 9n Outlaw, 6n Alpha, Cape Polo Crew, Nissan Trucks to name but a few. People moan about rain, but we can dry off afterwards. When I think of what Patrick Abrahams must be going through, it’s hard to comprehend.”
Sugen adds: “I’m a father of four kids, it is hard to imagine the level of heartbreak. I’m sure the memory of those children will always be there, it will not be an easy thing. The neighbours, when telling me about Patrick, say that he always helps his community, helps the kids, and would always take in someone who needed a place.”
Three of Abrahams’ children, Nikita, three, Joshua, 13, and Kyle, 18, were killed in the fire. His son-in-law Alfonso Swartz, 35, as well as his grandchildren, Tamia Swartz, two, Elmarie Fredericks, five, and Cameron Fredericks, six, also died, along with their cousin, Arafat Madat, 14. Five people were hospitalised.
The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault, but authorities are yet to identify the cause.
Everyone woke up already engulfed in the blaze.
A memorial service was held at the Imperial Primary School in Eastridge, to honour those who died in the blaze. There will be a funeral today for most of the children.