Kick-ass in-person and virtual book launch attracts 38

Blake Wilkins, left, and veteran TV and radio broadcaster Ian Laxton at the in-person and virtual launch of the break-through history book Looted Gold at Origins in De Waterkant, Cape Town.

Book launch challenge met

Grit your teeth, finalise your presentation and meet the attendance challenges of a book launch in these uncertain times by combining a live function with a virtual launch to attract 38 people. In total.

Was the launch a success? In my biased view – yes. Did the introduction of formal protocols to head off possible fourth wave infections scare people away from the live launch in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon?  Most certainly.

Veteran TV and radio broadcaster Ian Laxton and I shared the launch script commentary in the 121-year-old Origins Coffee building in Hudson Street, De Waterkant. Jeremy George wrestled successfully with the technical aspects of streaming a virtual launch while Wendy and Sonja handled the all-important admin aspects.

Positive launch

Comments from those who attended the live launch of Looted Gold included the use of the ‘kick-ass’ sentiment while others gracefully ignored the few hiccups that can crop up in live presentations.

The launch of the book in Cape Town followed a successful presentation of the book in Rotorua, New Zealand. My co-author, Mike Dwight, organised a flawless launch at an hotel in what is the geographical centre of Maori cultural landscape on North Island.

As an island nation and in an attempt to control the rage of Covid infection, New Zealand has re-imposed a travel ban to that country for all but citizens. Access into and out of Rotorua is strictly controlled. Talk about cramping one’s style to launch a book that was the end product of more than three years of researching and writing.

Restricted book launch

The attendance at the Rotorua ‘live’ launch was thus restricted. The majority of attendees were forced to watch the launch virtually, and that in a country where up to 90% of the population has had at least one vaccination.

But that’s the nature of book launches in these uncertain times.

Mike Dwight, second left, co-author of Looted Gold, with his support panel at the launch of the book in Rotorua, New Zealand.

A fairly new factor has crept in internationally and locally. People are complaining of ‘virtual fatigue’ after two years of doing business in the virtual space via Zoom and other virtual meeting packages.

‘Sorry Blake,’ I was told this morning, ‘I’m simply Zoomed out. I can’t stand attending another virtual meeting right now.’

Yes, challenges abound and there’s nothing that we as authors and writers can do in the short term to overcome such issues.

Thankfully, we are heading into the holiday break. Hopefully, and with the benefit of hindsight, the government will not consider implementing a beach ban. In all my seven decades on this plant, I have yet to identify the equal of such stupidity. Surely Monty Python attended that meeting of the Command Council.

Selling books

So, to return to the subject of the book Looted Gold, among the many and varied objectives of an author is to sell his or her books. I have a jaundiced view of some of the traditional bookstore chains. They turn up their noses at self-published books, or pay barely disguised lip service to such works. I suspect that they are shoe-horned into exclusive agreements with traditional publishers. Did I hear someone whisper ‘anti-competitive behaviour’?

I’ll be addressing this particular issue in another missive so let’s leave that matter right there. For now.

Suffice to say that Looted Gold is available locally and internationally on a wide variety of platforms. In the Western Cape, I have been meeting book orders personally in the short term (, but the overall responsibility for book distribution of hard copies is in the hands of Quickfox Publishers. Go to and look under the book category history.

Alternatively, go to the site and access the section dealing with the ordering of books in either hard copy, digital format or print-on-demand.

The book is on sale for R295 excluding delivery or courier costs.

There might be a perception that a history book, and particularly one dealing with happenings that occurred over a century ago, is chock-full of boring information.

Book with new perspectives

Sorry for you, but that perception is way off the mark. Looted Gold brings a totally new perspective to a subject that has puzzled thousands of people for years. The book traverses trials and tribulations in South Africa right up to the present. Does the word looted ring any bells in this day and age?

Mike and I also call on Looted Gold readers to consider picking up the baton to undertake further research. Because there’s so much more to be uncovered, especially in the State Archives in Pretoria as well as delving into secret bank accounts in Switzerland and other countries in Europe.

If you are looking for an interesting read, try Looted Gold. If you have an investigative itch, we’ve acted as pathfinders. The rest is up to you.

Books bought

By the way, the Western Province chapter of SAFREA organised an end-of-year lunch in Cape Town on Friday, 10 December. What a great way to mark the end of a challenging year. And two SAFREANS bought a copy of Looted Gold.

Members of the SAFREA Western Cape chapter at an end-of-year function in Cape Town are, from the left, Vaughan Jones, Blake Wilkins, Gareth Griffiths, Erina Botha and Renee Moodie.

For more articles by Blake Wilkins, go to

View other work by SAFREA freelancers at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


3 Responses

    1. Thank you Helene. Sales have been moderate. I’ve been away for a month in area of poor connectivity but having returned to Cape Town, I can continue with my marketing efforts.

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