Rise From The Ashes

More than 700 shacks were destroyed after a massive fire swept across the Kya Sands informal settlement in Johannesburg South Africa, on 9 October 2014.

According to the statistics by Judah Africa Community Development, close to 3 500 people were displaced and 3 children died after the fire, said to have been caused by izinyoka-nyoka (illegal connections from electricity power lines), ravaged the area. The residents, mostly from rural parts of the country and illegal migrants from Mozambique and Zimbabwe who cannot afford formal housing due to lack of education and legal documents, lost all their property in the fire.

The photo essay highlights life of families as they try to recollect their lives in the aftermath.

Thandaza (23) and her husband Sipho (36) own a plot with two shacks where they live with their daugthers Thabi (3), Thembi (5) and their dog hustler. Sipho is a treefeller and has not been getting a full salary since July 2014. He injured his left hand at work. They are currently depending on handouts from the church.

A Zimbawean migrant with three children back home and breastfeeding the other. Priscilla Sibanda a single mother who works as a casual domestic hand rents a shack in Kya sands. To make ends meet also resort to sex work during the night.