A school photo found among flames and wreckage was one of the few things left intact at a storage unit torched in this week's South African unrest.
A New Zealand woman's parents were caught up in deadly riots and looting which erupted in the wake of former president Jacob Zuma's imprisonment.
Sharon Viljoen's father, in his 60s, was in Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal, when unrest broke out and her mother and stepfather were in the coastal resort town of Karridene.
Security guards barricaded guests at Karridene due to safety concerns, Viljoen said.
"They had about 20 or so armed guards with AK-47s."
Viljoen's mother had told her: "It's been the scariest day I've lived through."
Some of the guests armed themselves and buried possessions in case the park was overrun.
"They started making their own petrol bombs."
Dozens of people have been killed and more than 2000 arrested in the unrest.
South Africa is experiencing a massive new wave of Covid-19 infections and struggles with entrenched poverty, inequality, corruption, and sluggish economic growth.
Viljoen said a multiracial group including members of community policing forums were co-operating to prevent more looting and violence.
"It's not a colour thing. It's good against bad."
Her parents' storage unit near Durban was looted and she was so worried this week she'd contacted a helicopter charter company to consider airlifting her father from Underberg.
She said items the looters couldn't carry away from the storage unit were torched.
Video from the scene supplied to the Herald showed a school photo from decades past was one of the few things to survive intact.
Viljoen's mother is now near Durban but her father is still in Underberg, about 200km away.
"He can't even get out because there's no fuel left in the service station."
She said locals were protecting the town's Spar supermarket, the last source of food in the area.
Viljoen said her brother in Johannesburg, the country's biggest city and financial capital, had also experienced looting.
"They went into the Spar to get cereal and whatever, and the next thing these looters came in and actually started shooting."
Nearby, the impoverished and densely-populated township of Alexandra also experienced intense looting and unrest.
By Thursday, New Zealand time, a clean-up operation was bringing some relief to Durban, home to the country's busiest port and to about 3.5 million people.
News website IOL said the local minibus taxi organisation, Santaco, worked with police and municipal cleaners after the looting.
President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the deployment of 2500 soldiers to help police suppress the unrest.
Today, Reuters reported South Africa planned to deploy up to 25,000 additional soldiers in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.