The Cape Aflame Project Team

On the face of it…

Photograph: Stanwell Slater
Photograph: Stanwell Slater

On the face of it, The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire uses stunning photography to chronicle the story of Capetonians uniting to fight a wind-driven holocaust which, over several days in early March 2015, torched 5,120 hectares of Table Mountain fynbos, as well as four homes and an upmarket coastal resort.

It is a story of courage, innovation, ingenuity and indomitable spirit facing down an existential threat. Individuals and communities from across the Cape and elsewhere came together to save their mountain and their city from the most volatile and destructive manifestation of Mother Nature.

This much-needed book forms a graphic, permanent record of a significant event in Cape Town’s long, incident-filled history.

On the face of it.

Photograph: Nic Bothma
Photograph: Nic Bothma

The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’ Dance with Fire is far more than mere story or photographic record. As with a photograph made by a master of the art, its composition, subject and stark contrasts portray more than an uplifting moment in the life of a city endowed with a national park as its backyard. Like any good image, it demands its readers’ consideration and rewards them richly for it.

Drawing on the rich experience of Table Mountain National Park management and staff, wildland firefighters, environmentalists, academics and fire-management practitioners, The Cape Aflame revisits the first days of March 2015 to explore the benefits of fire to fynbos; competing fire-management policies dating back to the 19th Century, and local, provincial and state firefighting initiatives dominated by the social and political climes of their times.

Moreover, as the fynbos of Table Mountain National Park rejuvenates, this work seeks not to reinforce the separation of city dwellers from their birthright; it offers irrevocable proof that the unity demonstrated during those days of fire and fear shows the spirit we need to secure our continuing, sustainable coexistence with our greatest assets – our iconic mountain, its flora and its fauna.

All profits realised from sales of The Cape Aflame will go directly to funding much-needed resources required by our wildland-firefighting, animal-welfare and other public-benefit organisations.