A fire has destroyed iconic buildings in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday including historic buildings at the University of Cape Town and Mostert’s Mill.
The fire first spread on Table Mountain National Park and then spread to the University of Cape Town (UCT).
Part of the UCT library, residences and upper campus buildings were also damaged by the fire. UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said that the extent of the damage can not yet be confirmed. The UCT library is about 200 years old.
Some of the buildings are considered to be part of South Africa’s cultural heritage.
Precious archives, historic texts, and collections of African Studies literature and archival documents have been destroyed in the fire.
Firefighters battled into the night to try salvage the University of Cape Town’s Jagger Library. The cause of the wildfire is believed to be an unattended vagrant fire.
Thousands of people have reacted on Twitter and other social media platforms to express their shock at the damage.
Ujala Satgoor, the executive director of UCT Libraries, said on Facebook that the Reading Room of the main library had been gutted but that fire shutters had been triggered preventing the flames from spreading to other parts of the building.
“Some of our valuable collections have been lost,” Satgoor said, adding that the library would only be able to assess the full extent of the damage after the building had been declared safe.
Students have been requested to evacuate their residences on the campus.
The fire also destroyed parts of Rhodes Memorial on the slopes of Table Mountain.
All academic activity at the University of Cape Town was suspended on Monday and Tuesday.
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