Kommetjie friends tackle coffee table book

Three long-standing friends from Kommetjie have teamed up to work on a coffee table book, The story of Kommetjie.

With two former teachers and an advertising creative on board, the book promises to delight not only Kommetjie residents but Capetonians and visitors too.

Surfer and former advertising creative, Roger Bain, said Marilyn Metcalfe and Duncan Duffett had approached him about the book about a year ago.

Ms Metcalfe, a former committee member of the Friends of Kommetjie Library, had had many requests for a book, A Century of Kommetjie, compiled by the Friends of Kommetjie Library in 2002.

That book came about after the Friends of Kommetjie Library organised a photographic competition in 1998 to raise funds for the library. The response from the community was overwhelming and contributed greatly to the book.

However, there were no copies left, and about three years ago, they tried to find someone to update the book, but nobody came forward.

Mr Duffett then raised his hand and offered to help but not before persuading Ms Metcalfe to help.

About a year ago, Mr Duffett approached his neighbour, Mr Bain, and having a background in advertising, he said, he was very excited about the project and what he could bring to the table.

Mr Bain suggested a whole new layout for the book with new photos as well as updated and fresh content.

Mr Duffett and Ms Metcalfe have done most of the research for the book.

“I don’t think we realised the extent of what we had taken on. I have been revising the historical information while Duncan has been writing the recent updates, and Roger has lots of ideas for the layout and which photos to use,” said Ms Metcalfe.

Some of the contents of the book will include the early history of Kommetjie, shipwrecks, the lighthouse, animals such as baboons, snakes and reptiles and arts and crafts.

Some of the content was supplied by locals, and Mr Bain said they welcomed any interesting facts and photographs of Kommetjie.

To raise funds for the book, the trio had mugs made in 15 different colours with the slogan “Legitimate Kommetjie Local”.

Other versions include, “Honorary Kommetjie Local”, “Illegitimate Kommetjie Local” and one in Rasta colours saying “Legalised Kommetjie Local”. They sell for R90.

They also encourage locals and visitors to pre-order a book at R300.

They have recently had a dummy book made up with a couple of pages to get an idea of what the final product will look like, and “it won’t disappoint”, said Mr Bain.

It is expected to be available at the end of the year.

The trio has a long-standing love for Kommentjie and has lived there for many years.

Mr Bain’s first introduction to Kommetjie was a bicycle trip round the peninsula in 1965. They camped on a plot that belonged to the parents of one of his friends and later surfed there.

“I just fell in love with the milkwood trees, the ocean and the beach and knew I had to live there,” Mr Bain said.

He moved to Kommetjie in 1975 after he got married.

Ms Metcalfe moved to Kommetjie in 1980 and taught at Kommetjie Primary School until 2007. Her family had been coming
there on holiday from the early 1900s.

“My paternal grandmother was a De Villiers, and she lived on properties belonging to family members in Noordhoek and Sunnydale. All my father’s sisters and brothers, also lived in Kommetjie or surrounds,” she said.

Ms Metcalfe moved to Kommetjie when her sons were young.

Her daughter was born in Kommetjie and still lives there and is married to a local.

Mr Duffett first started visiting Kommetjie in the mid-1960s. He and his friends surfed at Long Beach and camped under the milkwood trees on weekends. Later he rented accommodation in Kommetjie while teaching in Ocean View.

He bought a house in the Old Kom 35 years ago and he has lived there since, except for a period of five years when he lived in New Zealand. When questioned by other South Africans living there as to why he was returning, he said: “You have obviously never been to Kommetjie.”

* If you are able to make a contribution to the project or would like to buy a mug or pre-order a book, contact Mr Bain on bainwaves@telkomsa.net