Fiery bestseller raises R400 000 for essential services

The Cape Aflame Project, a citizen-led initiative born of the March 2015 Muizenberg wildfire that ravaged the Central Section of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), destroyed several homes across the Cape Peninsula and caused injury to several firefighters, donated R400 000 to four Cape-based essential-service organisations at a function held at TMNP’s Newlands Fire Base on Tuesday evening.

The Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association (CPFPA), the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife and Horse Care Units, the SANParks Honorary Rangers (Table Mountain Region) and Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) have earmarked the donation, in equal parts, for specific projects.

Representatives of animal-welfare and wildfire firefighting organisations attended the handover ceremony at the TMNP Newlands Fire Base, as did firefighters and pilots who fought the blaze

.The R400 000 was raised through sales of The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire, a high-quality, image-rich coffee-table publication. The book is a permanent record of the Muizenberg Fire and a detailed, educative case study of integrated wildfire management in the Western Cape’s Fynbos Biome.

Earlier this year, a leading travel and outdoor lifestyle magazine called it “…the definitive story of the Muizenberg Fire” and “…a graphic case study for everyone interested in Cape Town’s precious fynbos biome and conservation in general.” It is, it said, “…a moving human-interest story, told in a documentary style with drama and intensity.”

Thanking his team, contributing photographers, participating organisations and individuals, Cape Aflame Project Lead Kevin Gleeson related how the group, motivated by Capetonians’ support for the firefighting effort, took on the project “at risk” and used an aggressive online and social-media marketing campaign to turn over close on R1 million.

Working with independent retailers and public events supportive of the venture, the team was able to cover its costs and raise the donated funds by selling 2 650 copies within seven months of publication.

150 copies of The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire (R395 including VAT) remain available to the public through participating retail outlets. Details may be found at The Cape Aflame Project, a division of the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association (CPFPA), can be contacted