My name is Arafat I live in Cape Town as a refugee from the DRC.
The Homestead shelter is where I started my new life on arriving in South Africa as I didn’t have any family here that I can live with. completed my high school in 2014 and started college in 2015 where I was studying IT. Currently, I’m working in a digital agency as a web developer.
I love swimming a lot and when I first arrive at The Homestead in 2012 I was interested in playing soccer and then decided to try the swimming programme run by a volunteer every Thursday. My coach thought I was simply amazing and encouraged me to do swimming instead and I started focusing on swimming. I was pretty new to swimming in 2013 and it took a lot of courage to learn how to swim. At the time, there was another boy at The Homestead selected by veteran open water swimmers, to train for the Robben Island swim. I believed that I could also do that and started joining him on his coaching lessons. His coach agreed for me to continue training with the other boy as they felt I was a positive influence. Unfortunately for that boy, the street life was calling and he dropped out of the training sessions which gave me the opportunity to step in and take his place. It was amazing to hear that they believed in me and were willing to train me for the Island swim
After one year of training, I did my first attempt of the Robben Island swim but succumbed to stage 3 hypothermia with just one km left. I had to wait another month to try again – based on the wind, wave height, tides and water temperature. Finally, when the perfect day was chosen, I tried and again and succeeded. An experience that was just so amazing. 3h33 mins for 7.5km! Since then I have swum around Cape Point and Around Robben island.
Now I can’t wait for my next challenge. I am extremely grateful to all my sponsors and to all that believed in me!