From war in DRC to swimming the open ocean

Cape Town – He escaped conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2012 and travelled 3 400km to Cape Town, an arduous journey that took several weeks. He was only 17 at the time and came with his sister and two cousins, all of them under 20.

Arafat Gatabazi came to South Africa from the DRC as a child, and lived in a shelter for children until 2015. Now he is a long-distance open water swimmer : News24

 

This Saturday, almost five years after being granted asylum in South Africa, Arafat Gatabazi will embark on a 12km swim from Robben Island to Sea Point, raising funds for a crèche in Khayelitsha.

“Children are the future of this country and deserve a safe learning environment,” says the 22-year-old, who completed a certificate in Information Technology in 2016 and now works as a web developer. “Education is so important.”

Located in Site B, the Imizamo Yethu Educare Centre operates from a single shack, serving about some 45 children between the ages of five months and five years. The structure is cramped and leaks when it rains. Money from Gatabazi’s swim will go towards installing a fully equipped container classroom through the charity Breadline Africa.

To date, the drive has raised just more than R5 500 – 16% of its R34 000 target.

Gatabazi learned to swim after taking lessons at The Homestead, a shelter for street children in Cape Town where he lived until 2015. Within a year he had completed his first Robben Island crossing, an astounding achievement by any standards. (His first attempt, a month earlier, ended when he got hypothermia a kilometre from the Blouberg coast.)

Since then Gatabazi has swum around Cape Point (approximately 8km) for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust and around Robben Island (a total of 13.5 km after strong currents altered his course) for Lifeline Western Cape.

For the full article, visit News24.