Does This Image Show a Section of the University of Cape Town on Fire?

This image was shared as a tweet in April 18th 2021. It claims to show Kramer Law School at the University of Cape Town on fire.

We looked it up to establish the background of the image.


In the morning of April 18, 2021, a fire started on the slopes of the Table Mountain in South Africa and spread to the University of Cape Town premises. The fire spread massively and partly destroyed the 100-year-old Jagger Library and the 225-year-old Mostert’s Mill.

These fires forced students and residents living around the Table Mountain to be evacuated to safer grounds as a precautionary measure. There are no casualties reported so far. However, four firefighters were hurt as they tried to contain the fires.


A reverse image search leads to posts by the Independent both published on February 25th and 26th, 2016. These two posts show different angles that were taken of this image. (See below).

To debunk these claims further, we picked the most obvious similarities from these three images.  The trees in these images can also be spotted in the photo in question. Additionally, they all have the fire extinguishers in the same spots and the entrance of these buildings look exactly the same.

The only difference is that one photo was taken a few metres from the building on fire, thus showing more features. The other one was taken close to the building, thus showing few features but in close view.

This image was taken during a fire at North-West University, Mafikeng campus started by students in a row over the institution’s student representative council (SRC).

This tweet gives more proof that these images are from North-West University, taken in February 2016. A similar photo was shared under this hashtag; #NWUMafikeng.


This image showing a section of the University of Cape Town on fire is MISLEADING.


This story was produced by Africa Uncensored in partnership with Code for Africa with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie.

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