On Wednesday 4 November the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, launched the “Water Safety Awareness through Aqua Sport” initiative at Strandfontein Pavilion alongside the 9 Miles Project. The purpose of this initiative is to raise awareness on water safety and decrease the high number of drowning incidents in the Western Cape.
9Miles is a youth and community development non-profit organisation that uses surfing and swimming as a platform for transformation. They focus on vulnerable youth in Cape Town.
The special guest at the launch was Caleb Swanepoel, a 20 year old shark attack survivor. He delivered a motivational address to the children participating in the 9Miles project. “Have respect for the sea, and it will respect you” advised Caleb. He also told the children never to swim alone and be vigilant at all times.
Once the formalities were over, the real fun began. 9Miles facilitators taught Minister Marais how to surf. They started with the basics on the shore and then they hit the water to take on some waves. “At the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport we encourage excellence and inclusiveness in sport and culture through creative partnerships. Although learning to surf had my heart racing, it was so worthwhile to launch this creative partnership with the 9Miles project and Caleb Swanepoel. Initiatives like theirs not only raise awareness about water safety, but will have a long lasting positive impact on the children who hear Caleb’s story. Minister Marais said, “In Caleb and Nigel they now have two new role models to inspire them.”
More details and statistics are available on https://www.westerncape.gov.za/gc-news/406/39066 .
As part of her water safety campaign Minister will participate in several other initiatives in the upcoming weeks.