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GoFundMe campaign for Knysna Fire relief smashes crowdfunding goal

A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign created to help the victims of the Knysna fires has raised three-times its goal amount in a single day.

The fund, started by Knysna resident Natalie Grundlingh, was initially set with a £5 000 goal on the crowdfunding site, but in less than 36 hours more than £15 000 has been raised from around 300 donations. GoFundMe has also marked the campaign as “trending”.

Read more: Memeburn’s coverage of the #CapeStorm and #KnysnaFire

The Knysna Fire swept through the Southern Cape district on Wednesday, ahead of the intense cold front that lashed Cape Town, killing five people and displacing around 10 000. While the intensity of the fires have largely abated as of Friday morning, the destruction remains.

Grundlingh’s explains that the campaign aims to aid those affected through community support.

“Hi, I’m Natalie – just an average woman from a small town in the Western Cape of South Africa, called Knysna,” she writes on the campaign’s story section.

“On the 7th of June 2017 Knysna was ravaged by fires and this idyllic town was burnt to the ground. Families have lost their homes, livilhoods [sic] and are left hopeless, helpless and homeless.

“I’m a fifth generation “Knysnarian” and it is therefore my duty to stand up for this town I’ve called home for 34 years, to help rebuild a town that has lost schools most of our parents and even some of our grandparents went to, lost churches that unite communities, lost businesses that have survived economic hardships, lost homes that have housed generations, hosted children’s birthdays, accommodated visiting families and sleepovers,” she adds.

“All I ask is for a little help for the people I’ve shared most of my life with because they are all a hardworking, accepting, welcoming community and are now more deserving than most.”

‘Hi, I’m Natalie – just an average woman from a small town in the Western Cape of South Africa, called Knysna’

While the campaign isn’t verified by the Knysna Municipality or the Eden District Municipality, Grundlingh does suggest the funds “raised will be handed over to an NPO currently being set up.”

We’ve reached out to the municipality for comment on the campaign.

Crowdfunding campaigns for Knysna emerge

A number of other social crowdfunding campaigns are also raising money from internet citizens.

The Salvation Army South Africa as well as Gift of the Givers have both set up funds on crowdfunding platform GivenGain, raising around R45 000 in total thus far.

A simple search for “Knysna” on GoFundMe also produces a slew of results, from individuals trying to rebuild their homes, to campaigns focussing on animal relief efforts.

The Knysna Municipality has however stressed that individuals should only donate to causes with verified banking accounts.

“Please beware of scam artists taking advantage of this tragedy. Please verify a bank acc with us first via twitter or Facebook,” the account tweeted.

Eden District Municipality confirmed late Thursday that the fire has largely been contained.

“At this point and time there are no runaway fires. In Knysna and Plett, several flare-ups and hotspots are being attended to. Aerial support was utilised for an hour an a half late afternoon. All areas are being monitored with extreme vigilance,” it wrote on its Facebook page.

Knysna is however without water at the time of writing.

Author | Andy Walker: Editor

Andy Walker: Editor
Camper by day, run-and-gunner by night, Andy prefers his toast like his coffee -- dark and crunchy. Specialising in spotting the next big Instagram cat star, Andy also dabbles in smartphone and game reviews over on Gearburn. More