Support enables Cafda bookshop’s comeback

Cafda bookstore customers Rudeah Kallis, from Bayview, and her grandson, Isa Phillips, buying books from bookstore volunteers, Joy Rubenstein, left, and Maureen Holzhausen.

Claremont’s Cafda bookstore is thriving and here to stay, says the shop’s trading manager Bradley Jones.

The store, run by the non-profit Cape Flats Development Association (CAFDA), was in danger of closing at the end of last month due to the impact of Covid-19.

Mr Jones said there had been an overwhelming public response since the Cape Community Newspapers, which publishes Atlantic Sun and its 14 sister titles, had run an article about the shop’s plight.

“Many residents were calling to find out what is happening to the store. We received new book donations almost every day since the article, and our revenue has improved to make us sustainable to remain open in Claremont.”

There had been so much support in the past three months that the shop’s revenue had exceeded that of its Sea Point branch, which usually earned more, he said.

The landlord had even allowed the store to use an adjacent space for a display to attract passers-by in Warwick Street, he said.

With the upswing in revenue, the store can pay its rent, and employees at Cafda head office returned to their usual working hours.

But Cafda’s financial difficulties are far from over.

Mr Jones said the organisation was still reeling from a storm that had caused R390 000 in damage to the head office in Schaapkraal on Monday August 17. “There is even more pressure on us as the bookstore to raise more revenue,” he said.

Cafda chief executive officer Peter Cato said the insurance would only cover R80 000 of the storm damage so the non-profit would have to come up with the rest.

“Our merchandise store and two bookstores are our main source of income, and we are grateful that the Claremont bookstore is in a better condition, and we thank the public for sharing their donations and buying books from the store,” he said.

The Claremont and Sea Point bookstores are looking for volunteers. Call 021 706 2050 or email if you are interested, or visit for more information about Cafda.