04 September 2023 – 12:37 By Ihsaan Haffejee
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A sombre atmosphere descended on the Olifantsvlei Cemetery late on Sunday evening as the bodies of seven victims of the deadly Johannesburg fire arrived for a mass burial.
The victims included a baby and four of the seven who were buried came from the same family.
The seven who were laid to rest were migrants from Malawi who lived in the building on 80 Albert Street, having arrived in Johannesburg in search of work.
Muslim organisations from around Gauteng assisted the Malawian community with the burial so that victims could have a dignified funeral.
“It’s a very sad day. Unfortunately we’ll be burying people the whole week as some families are still identifying lost family members. We are just praying for the families during this time,” said Malawian community member Abdullah Hassan Bonomali
Councillor Imraan Moosa from the City of Joburg thanked the organisations who assisted with the burial free of charge.
“We thank these people for assisting when communities are in need in such a difficult time. We are all together in mourning this human tragedy,” said Moosa.
Irfaan Mangera from Rise Msanzi was one of the volunteers who assisted with the burial.
“The whole day was spent with people in Johannesburg who have lost loved ones, who have lost all their belongings,” said Mangera.
“I think sometimes we forget that we are dealing with human beings, so it’s important for us as activists and leaders to remain committed to that role of humanitarianism.”
After the victims were buried, Adam Masamba could be seen saying a final prayer at the grave of his friend Mariam Mofati.
“We are traumatised as a community. There has been too much loss and death,” he said.
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