Wheels of Fire - Ari Seirlis

I decided to write my biography after the encouragement of a few friends and influencers. It was a cathartic experience which I had tried to avoid and now with no regrets. The book is now published and it’s everything I wanted to say… It’s a great read, 340 pages, 90 photos.


WHEELS of FIRE was inspired by a few conversations in my 60th year and I decided to put pen to paper and write my biography. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. I had an interesting upbringing of privilege and opportunity. The Army changed many things. And then a brutally honest story about my journey after my accident in 1985. I discovered my creativity and ingenuity in the NGO space and gave it my all for 20 years.

WHEELS of FIRE has many learnings, lessons and is a unique story of triumph over adversity, moral courage and civil action and gratitude for everything.

If you are abroad you can order it on Amazon.


He gives credit to Occupational Therapy in his journey to reintegration back into society and his career at QASA. He became a familiar face at OTASA conferences and one of his presentations was titled “my blood is green”.

The back cover reads:

Now 60 years old, Ari Seirlis has spent close to two-thirds of his life in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. In his compelling autobiography Wheels of Fire, he records his life journey, starting with his upbringing, schooling, university, fighting in the Angolan war and early years as an energetic young man.

Ari’s life changed in a second when he broke his neck after diving down a waterslide for a film shoot in Durban, South Africa. During his long periods of clinical rehabilitation, he reveals how – during this darkest time of his life – he came to terms with the lifelong inevitability of using a wheelchair.

A key turning point in Ari’s life was when he embraced the Disability Rights Movement, both locally and internationally. This included assuming executive leadership of QASA (QuadPara Association of South Africa) and growing that organisation exponentially to reach stellar status among local and even global non-government organisations. This book also describes his outstanding successes in creating innovative and sustainable funding opportunities for NGOs.

Ari has achieved great heights in his life, albeit different from the ones he had imagined as a student. Nevertheless, his journey took him to engaging Christopher Reeve aka Superman on many subjects in his home in New York, lunch with Mandela in his birthday celebrations, advising Presidents and travelling globally to make the changes he knew were needed. With honesty, humour, and self-reflection, he takes readers through the wonderful highs and desperate lows of his life in this moving and inspiring story.

A must read to inspire you to think beyond the box and cope with adversity.

Biography, autobiography and memoir are my favourite genres. As an avid reader, I was delighted to see Ari Seirlis’ Wheels of Fire.

This outstanding work has it all: humour, pathos and inspiration. Ari is an inspiration. Life is too short and there are too many wonderful books to read for me to plough through anything that does not grab me from the outset. Needless to say, despite the length of this book, I devoured it cover to cover.

Ari was clearly destined make a success of his life, irrespective of the hand he was dealt. And he did. Wheels of Fire tells his story from his roots in Cyprus, growing up in South Africa’s KZN province and a tragic diving accident that changed his life forever. It takes us through his career and the world class leadership he showed championing the cause of disability the sustainable difference he made in the non-profit sector.

Entrepreneur, thinker, activist and wanna-be politician, nothing daunts Ari. His energy, enthusiasm and deep passion permeate every page.

I highly recommend this book.


Jill Ritchie

Author and Consultant

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