R280,000 raised for Western Cape winemaker whose farm burnt to the ground

20 December 2019 - 09:21 By timeslive
Donations are pouring in for Samantha O'Keefe.
Donations are pouring in for Samantha O'Keefe.
Image: Supplied via BackaBuddy

Single mother of two Samantha O'Keefe has inspired donations from well-wishers wanting to help her rebuild her life after a recent wildfire destroyed Lismore wine farm in Greyton, in the Western Cape.

So far, pledges totalling R280,000 have been made, against a target of R500,000.

Floh Thiele, who began the crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, posted that the fire on December 17 started in the nearby nature reserve and initially posed no threat to Lismore.

The fire, the post stated, “is believed to have been started by children with malicious intent,” according to Overberg fire chief Reinard Geldenhuys.

Unexpectedly, the fire moved over to the vineyard. In just 30 minutes it had destroyed the homestead and cellar of the business O'Keefe had built over the last 17 years.

O'Keefe, 48, who lives on the farm with her two children — Quinn, 14, and Keenan, 16 -hopes to use the funds to rebuild the family home and winemaking facilities and re-plant the vineyards.

The crowdfunding campaign went live on December 18. In less than 24 hours, over R224,000 had been raised from 130 donors both locally and abroad, said BackaBuddy.

“While Sam is distraught by the tragedy, she remains hopeful that Lismore will be returned to its former glory. The family are humbled and overwhelmed by the generous support they have received from the Greyton community, previous patrons, as well as friends and strangers from SA and all over the world.”

O’Keefe recently became the sixth woman to be inducted into the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild.