The Cape Aflame Project Team

Father Christmas in China

Having departed Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City for the Chinese mainland, the 58,000-tonne Evergreen Marine Group container ship Ever Refine has stopped in Xiamen en route to Hong Kong where it will pick up your copy (or copies – remember, Christmas is just around the corner) of The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire on 2 November.

From Hong Kong, the vessel will make stops at Shekou, Singapore and Malaysia’s Port Klang before crossing the Indian Ocean and the Equator to dock in Durban on 22 November and Cape Town on Friday 27 November – where our shipping agents will request a ‘special unpack’ to expedite clearance as early in the new week as possible.

I immediately put through a call to Louisa Lo of our carriers, Kintetsu World Express (HK) Limited (or K-Line), to see how preparations were coming along.

“Everything’s hunky dory, Mike,” Louisa reported. “The Ever Refine‘s picking up the titanium containers in Xiamen, so your customers can rest assured that every book will be in mint condition.”

“Many thanks, Louisa. They’ll be pleased to know you’re looking after their best interests.”

“Don’t we always?”

“Of course you do. How are things looking from Tai Yip Street?”

“Great, Mike. Kowloon’s a wonderful place and I’m coordinating this operation from our head office. I’ve sent Sinia Tam up to Xiamen to accompany the containers down to Hong Kong – just to make sure the crew gives the ship a good scrub before berthing.”

“Louisa, you’re the best. And we know it. What’s happening down at the Kwai Chung Container Terminal?”

“Well, as you know, we’re looking to load on Monday, Mike. Sue Lee, my other assistant, is down there right now, giving your VIP Protection Unit the lowdown on Berth 3 – which has been cleared. I believe your government pushed through a special budget for this shipment?”

Louisa’s what we in the publishing industry call “a smart chick”. She has eyes and ears everywhere.

“Indeed they did, you naughty girl. I’m afraid it was subject to the usual tender irregularities and over-inflated prices, but you know how these things go. Just don’t let the blue-light brigade anywhere near the consignment – these books are important to us and we wouldn’t like to have BMW’s and Range Rovers smashing into the pallets.”

Louisa’s laughter reminds me of a tinkling bell.

“Oh, don’t worry about that, Mike. We’re shipping them off to the South China Sea on Sunday afternoon (the VIP Protection guys, that is) to make mischief with the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Let’s see how the Yankees cope with a bunch of unguided South African missiles while we get the Ever Refine in and out of here.”

“You’re a star among stars, Louisa but I think I’ve already told you that.”

“Indeed you have, Mike. How long before we see you in Kowloon? Sinia and Sue are looking forward to meeting you.”

“I’ll do my damndest to make it as soon as possible, and then we can all go out and do sushi.”

“We look forward to it, Mike. As always, it’s a great pleasure talking to you.”

“The pleasure’s all mine, Louisa.”

And so on and so forth.

The upshot is that it seems your copy of The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire is in the best possible hands. If you’re wondering why your copy was printed in Hong Kong, let me ask you this.

Do we make iPhones in Cape Town?


But, what we can do from Cape Town is allow you to track the progress of your copy or copies of this absolutely stunning book as it makes its way to you. If you’re halfway as excited about its arrival as we are, you’ll be checking on the Ever Refine‘s progress every day.

The Evergreen Maritime Line Ever Refine
© Frank Behrends

And did I mention that Christmas – or the holiday season or whatever it is they call it now – is just around the corner?

Looking at the latest sales figures, I see that while many may be keen to acquire a copy for themselves, some 50 percent are earmarked as gifts.

And all profits realised from the sale of each book will constitute a gift of inestimable value to our remarkable group of beneficiaries:

When buying a copy for yourself or someone you care for, you’re giving those who protect our natural spaces and our wildlife a gift to remember and greater opportunity to do what they love doing most. Bear that in mind and …