MY AMAZING JOURNEY TO ROBBEN ISLAND AND BACK
Everyone follows a pre-determined path or pursues a particular journey or dream in life. For some this may be the Comrades Marathon, getting an education or getting married.
What is your journey? Is it something you will forever cherish?
My journey of swimming from Robben Island to Blouberg Strand was one of the most difficult challenges which I have faced in life. I realised my dream to complete this swim which was my ultimate goal and hugely rewarding.
In order to succeed in the open water swimming field, one needs to be both physically and mentally strong.
Physical training is a key requirement to swim long distance and most of the time you train in the pool. This should be done on a daily basis to be physically strong and prepared for an endurance event.
Mental training is practiced in the sea to prepare both mind and body to adjust to the different sea temperatures – particularly the cold water, high waves, poor visibility and just being alone in all these elements without the safety of pool lanes and walls to hang on to.
In the sea, there is danger in many forms. Not every sea creature is friendly except for the dolphins who have been known to go out of their way to save humans from drowning and to protect them from sharks.
Why do you think wild dolphins go out of their way to save humans from drowning and even sharks?
This journey of swimming from Robben Island was not without danger. It is not just that which lives in the sea such as sharks and jelly fish but there is a big risk of suffering from hypothermia. All this became a goal – one like that of Madiba’s long walk to freedom. It is a journey – a process to reach the finish line. My journey of swimming was inspired by Madiba and his long walk to freedom where he spent 27 years of his life to accomplish a democratic South Africa in general and Africa in main.
Through the dangers of the ocean I can relate to what Madiba went through. He sacrificed for democracy. I sacrificed my life to achieve personal gratification, to reach the impossible goal or dream, to inspire the youth to greater length.
I never thought I would do this in my life until I got to South Africa after fleeing from my country because of the war. When I started swimming, I had this goal to complete the journey against all odds and I succeeded.
It wasn’t that easy to complete the journey as many people tried to stop me but those who believed in me, never let me down. I really appreciate all their support.