Teaching Khayelitsha children to swim

| Siyabonga Kalipa
Nondumiso Marman teaching Chumokuhle Vukubi swimming skills. Photo by Siyabonga Kalipa.

Nondumiso Marman used to fear water but now she teaches Khayelitsha children how to swim.

Marman, who used to be a lifesaver at nearby Monwabisi Beach, is doing her best to put an end to the stereotype that “blacks don’t swim”.

“I used to fear water, even though I loved going to the beach. When I nearly drowned, I told myself I needed to learn how to swim.”

“After my experience as a lifesaver I decided to teach people how to swim to also put an end to the drowning.”

In 2010 she started the Khayelitsha Aquatics Club which is part of the City of Cape Town’s Learn to Swim programme.

Some of her pupils come to learn to swim, some to get fit, and some to improve their swimming in the hope that they may eventually get a job using their skill.

Sixteen-year old Chumokuhle Vukubi said, “I want to be in the navy when I finish school so learning to swim now while I’m still at school will help my dream come true.”

Lephema Lephema, also 16, is swimming for a different reason.

“When I realised that I do have the talent I told myself that I want to go far in the sport and compete internationally representing the country.”

Marman who also gives water safety talks to her students, said, “I don’t want to teach them how to swim and it ends there. I want to see some in the Olympics in future, and for some of them to take over from me one day and pass on the skills to other children.”

Mayco member for Community Services and Special Projects Alderman Belinda Walker said: “The City regularly hosts Learn-to-Swim programmes across Cape Town. With approximately 460 drowning incidents reported annually in South Africa, Learn-to-Swim programmes are a priority for the City’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department.”

Walker said many of these programmes were held in association with swimming clubs and the lifeguards employed by the City.

About 60 children and adults participate in these programmes daily at each of the swimming pools concerned, she said.

TOPICS:  Arts and culture Education Health

Next:  Lonmin investor rapped over the knuckles

Previous:  Game of drones: City tests underway

© 2016 GroundUp. Creative Commons License
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.