Misiwe Sinono of Joe Slovo informal settlement died while holding her one-year-old son as she tried to protect him from a fire that engulfed their family home.
Sinono, 35, and her son, Kayone, had been sleeping in their double-storey shack, in the informal settlement near Milnerton, when the fire broke out just after midnight on Tuesday.
The two sustained fatal burn wounds.
City Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Liezl Moodie said the cause of the fire was yet to be determined.
“One adult female and one minor are deceased as a result of the fatal burns. The cause of the fire at this stage is undetermined. The incident was handed over to the police,” Moodie said.
On Wednesday, when the Cape Argus visited the area, neighbours were still helping with the demolition of what was left of the home.
The wood and iron structure was the only shack that caught alight. The top layer of the home was destroyed. Downstairs, the structure remained rigid.
Inside a navy blue pram, which belonged to Kayone, stood in the centre of the room. The stove, cupboards and fridge were charred.
Sinono’s cousin, Pinky Sivobela, said she and Sinono’s sister were not at home when the fire broke out.
They only heard screams and, by the time they arrived, the house was in flames.
“She died trying to protect her child,” Sivobela said. “I still cannot believe what has happened. It has not registered yet, I do not know but my mind is still blank.”
The relative said when she arrived at the scene, the neighbours were trying to extinguish the fire.
“There were flames everywhere and we all knew that they were inside. The fire was so bad no one could get in. There was nothing we could do to save them,” she said.
Yanga Sidlekiza, a neighbour and one of the first people to arrive at the scene, said he was woken up by Sinono’s cry for help.
“She screamed ‘come help’, and when we got there the flames were intense. We tried pouring water to put out the flames, and it was not long after that we no longer heard her screams.
“We are still saddened by the loss; we will miss her and her son in this community,” Sidlekiza said.