Undies, Ice Cold Water, Dropping One’s Inhibitions and Helping Charity


Dave Prentice at the Liberty Mall. The sign on his back asks. “If I can raise R 18 000 in my undies, what can you do?” Photo: Supplied.

On Saturday, 6 July, along with some willing assistants, I made my way down to the Commonage Section of the Bell River, not 250m out of the little town of Rhodes in the Eastern Cape, where I stripped down to my undies, donned my beanie, takkies and sunglasses and made my way into the relatively warm Bell River, (the temperature being 7or 8C). The long and, naturally, extremely short of it is that I fished for about 15 minutes and even enjoyed an invigorating swim at the end. No fish were caught – by no means due to my lack of fishing ability of course!

As an accountant, my daily toiling takes me across paths of many individuals and organisations that are battling to stay afloat. One sector which has been particularly hard-hit is the NGO Sector. Even before the financial meltdown, a large number of these organisations were borderline, and in more recent times, a substantial number of these organisations have closed down due to the lack of funds available.

So, dear reader, you may be asking – “Why is this fly-fisher cum accountant going on about?” Well, please bear with me as I “bare” my story of baring my middle aged body to a number of unfortunate witnesses and casual onlookers during a recent trip to the village of Rhodes in the North Eastern Cape Highlands, on the Maloti Drakensberg Route.

It all began in April this year while I was enjoying our bi-annual pilgrimage to Rhodes with my mates, fly fishing the beautiful streams and rivers in the district. After a pint at Walkerbouts Pub, I decided I would fish the Bell River in winter for the first time, since the rivers are no longer closed during these frosty and most often snowy times of the year. I also decided to become the inaugural member of the Natal Fly Fishers Club (Rhodes) Polar Bear Club, (hence the undies, shoes and beanie mentioned in the beginning of this story). A fellow fly fisher suggested that I do my iced dunking in aid of charity, and so that’s what I am doing! Having advertised my Polar bear fishing idea, with the aim of raising funds for the CINDI Network (Children in Distress), I am pleased to write that, to date, the funds raised for CINDI are in excess of R 18,000. I have learned from this initiative, that while money is tight, it is still moving around and one doesn’t need to climb Everest or walk around the perimeter of Africa to raise funds for charity. All it takes is a little creative thinking, a nudge from a buddy, a fun activity and a little bit of “chutzpah” and anyone can raise money. It’s not about the amount, it’s all about the well-known Starfish Principle; the accumulation of the odd R 10 here, R 50 there and the occasional larger amount. Every little bit helps. I guess what I’m saying is that if I could raise some money in my underpants, think of what YOU could do to help those in need in your neighbourhood! If you don’t know ask me how!

If anyone would like to donate to this cause or contact me, either email dave@prenticeassoc.co.za or contact CINDI at 033 342 7994 or www.cindo.org.za