The Cape Aflame Project Team

Set the Cape Aflame

Treat yourself. Buy a copy – or better yet, two or more copies – of The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire now and support the Cape of Good Hope SPCA and other essential public-benefit organisations tending our natural environment.

Spread the word – set The Cape Aflame.

The Cape Aflame – Cape Town's Dance with Fire

Published conventionally, The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire would retail for R575. It’s a spectacular book, designed by one of our leading layout artists, Paula Wood, to cram 176 pages with close on 30,000 words and more than 200 photographs by our top photographers while retaining minimalist and uncluttered appeal.

Nevertheless, at R575 and distributed through retail outlets, it may take six months or more to sell its first print run.

The R200 per book? That is, the difference between R375 and R575?

Think of it as our gift to you.

We’d like to speed things up a bit.

It’s covered by members of The Cape Aflame Project Team having volunteered their time to write, compile and publish this definitive record of the 2015 Muizenberg Fire, locating it in the context of non-existent, competing, ill-advised or downright counterproductive fire-management strategies that have bedevilled Cape Town and our greater Fynbos Biome for centuries.

Today, as botanist, environmentalist and protector of the Zandvlei Estuary Sandra Fowkes points out: “We’ll always have fires but people are so much more prepared.”

Well, some people are. Sandra is the former campaign coordinator for the Ukuvuka – Operation Firestop initiative which ran for four years following the great fires of 2000. Are you or am I “so much more prepared”? The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire is a step toward that state of preparedness.

Also, rather than give retailers a trade discount of 40 percent (or R150) on the remaining R375, we’re giving the money to:

• the CoGH SPCA’s Wildlife and Horse Care Units
• the SANParks Honorary Rangers (Table Mountain Region)
• the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association, and …
Volunteer Wildfire Services

… so that they’re able to continue managing the necessary phenomenon of fire sustaining the Natural World Heritage site on our urban and suburban doorsteps.

Think of that R150 as your gift to the SPCA.

You know the old saying about giving, eh? As you give, so shall you receive. When we work outside conventional business models, it starts to ring true.

Really, you’re supporting some of our most amazing under-the-radar conservation organisations – and you’re shelling out the remaining R225 for a book South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) senior scientist, restoration ecologist and perhaps South Africa’s most qualified and outspoken advocate of fynbos, Dr Tony Rebelo, describes as:

“a statement on the current state of affairs”
• “great memorabilia”
• “filled with views from all sides” and
“an opportunity to see where education and effort are required”

“I fully support it,” says Rebelo, who has something of a reputation for not suffering fools (or their wares) gladly.

In fact, some of his views have sparked heated (ehem) debate within the project team. That’s where education begins.

Publication Set for Thursday, 3 December

Has The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire been published yet? No. Stock is due to land in the city on 27 November and will be distributed to our customers (at no charge in South Africa) from 4 December. Officially, the book will be launched the day before, on 3 December.

So why am I, a notorious antisocial networker, nontrepreneur and professional word processor pushing sales of the book so vehemently and without let up?

Because response to the book has been phenomenal. You’ve already bought a thousand copies. We are within striking distance of being able to assure you that, of the R375 spent on each copy, the full amount will go directly to our partner organisations.

That would mean, to put it bluntly, a hell of a lot to the SPCA Wildlife and Horse Care Units, the Honorary Rangers, the CPFPA and the VWS. They’d start 2016 with far more financial confidence than they did 2015. Proceeds from the book are earmarked for specific projects by each organisation.

And that’s where you come in.

Make their year. Buy your copy/ies now.

For the record, your R375 goes directly into a ring-fenced bank account in the name of the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association (CPFA), an audited, statutory Public Benefit Organisation comprising private and public-sector owners of land falling within Table Mountain National Park (TMNP).

The CPFPA is charged with disbursing all profits to our partners in equal measure. Whether you place your order at The Cape Aflame website, my site, or from our Facebook page, you’ll be directed by PayFast to the CPFPA.

Meeting the Future in the SPCA

Oh…yes, before I let you go. There’s a story to the above collage. I was hunting for images and wanted advice on a particular issue. I contacted Inspector Megan Reid, Supervisor of the CoGH SPCA Wildlife Unit (pictured above).

She was hunting down a squirrel shortly before nightfall in Cape Town’s Company Gardens while maintaining contact with a third party.

“Should I call you back some other time?” I asked.

She assured me I wasn’t preventing her doing her job and a rapid series of phone calls followed.

Inspector Reid multitasks.

Still, I needed to pick up the photographs at some stage. The following day, Megan and CoGH SPCA spokesperson Wanika Davids threw me completely by offering to pop around with the requested images – which they did.

Their professionalism, energy, enthusiasm and passion for their job offered me a moment of epiphany. I realised that, for all the problems we face today, we have a generation in charge that is more than capable of dealing with anything thrown at it.

Epiphany is a strong word and it’s one I use advisedly. Megan Reid’s and Wanika Davids’ willingness to go the extra mile, and the spirit with which they did so, sealed the deal for me – I would see this project through to the end. No matter what.

There are great people out there doing great work – without fuss or fanfare. They need our support and we must give it to them.