Child Thrown to Safety From Burning Building During Riots in South Africa

The incident comes during unrest that has so far left 72 people dead, following the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma.
Dipo Faloyin
London, GB
A child is thrown to safety.
A child is thrown to safety. Screengrab courtesy of the BBC.

Footage has emerged of a child being thrown to safety from a burning building that was reportedly set on fire by looters in Durban, a major city on South Africa’s east coast.

The incident was captured by the BBC on Tuesday evening after violent protesters broke into a line of shops. As the fire spread to the apartment block above, a group of passers-by appeared to catch the child who was thrown down by his mother. Mother and child were later reunited.


The incident comes as hundreds of people in the country’s two most densely populated regions continue to protest the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma, whose supporters say his conviction was politically motivated.

Demonstrations turned violent, then mass looting and vandalism was reported in major cities across the country, including Johannesburg and Pretoria, and in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal. At least 72 people have died, while dozens have been arrested in some of the worst outbreaks of social disorder the country has seen post-apartheid.  

Last month, Zuma – who served nine years as president from 2009 – was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contempt of court after the 72-year-old declined to give evidence in an official inquiry into historic corruption during his time as president. 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has deployed the military in an attempt to restore order, while calling for calm in the country.