In no way do I wish to detract from the enormous losses and trauma suffered by residents and businesses, I extend my sincere sympathies to all of you.
The increased awareness, education and fund raising, can unfortunately only be achieved by a fire of this magnitude. A fire that is big enough to captivate an entire city.
Often dramatic events are needed to facilitate change and to alter perceptions.
Here are the 5 reasons why I celebrate this fire.
- The VWS (Volunteer Wildfire Services) received much needed publicity for the great work they do, most of it unseen by the general public. This resulted in a financial injection of over R3 MILLION from generous and grateful businesses and residents in the city who responded so well to the KFM and CapeTalk radiothon. Before the fire, most people never paused to give thought to the firefighters of the City of Cape Town or Working on Fire, and very few people were even aware of the existence of the VWS.
- Cape Town United. This is not the name of a football club, it is the only way to describe how the people of Cape Town worked together in their support, doing whatever needed to be done to get the fire out. Capetonians are generous, compassionate and stand together in a crisis. The stories of acts of kindness, selflessness and generosity towards neighbours, firefighters and emergency services staff will be told for years.
- We have learned so much. The best lessons come from experience.
- We know firsthand how fast a fire can spread and how difficult it is to contain
- We know how easily a fire can start and that butt tossing, littering, particularly bottles, can easily start a fire of this magnitude. We know that we can never be careless with anything that has even the tiniest spark, as that spark can grow into a giant fire.
- We know that while we are all drawn to a fire, we must stay well out of the way of the fire fighters, give way immediately for emergency vehicles, and ensure we are not hampering their efforts in any way.
- We have a much greater understanding and respect for the men and woman who put out these fires, and how we can support them.
- Fynbos, the next generation. We will be seeing outstanding displays of colour on the mountain as soon as next week as the fynbos bursts into new life. We know that fynbos needs fire to germinate, so although the mountain looks really sad and barren right now, this will not last for long. Many aliens were burned and this is good and bad. The heat intensity when aliens burn can negatively impact on the fynbos seeds. Overall, more good than harm was done, and it is predicted that new flowers will be appearing in a few weeks and this spring will deliver a spectacular show.
- Capetonians are adaptable. The first to turn a disaster into a positive event are the organisers of the Cape Town Cycle Tour. They have reduced the route, and named this years event the #Showyoucaresolidarityride They state “The ride remains a celebration of Cape Town and this wonderful Peninsula on the southern tip of Africa. The Cape Town Cycle Tour will go on because, as the fighting spirit of the people of Cape Town has demonstrated, nothing can take it away from us – not even fire.”
I am immensely proud to be a citizen of this incredible city.