Ricochet News

Buffalo City Metro launches swimming project for kids

Nov 6, 2017
Buffalo City Metro launches swimming project for kids

Drownings are listed as one of the top causes of unnatural death amongst children in South Africa especially during the festive season. Thus, the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality in its efforts to eliminate these fatalities has embarked on a six-month swimming programme with 20 youngsters in Buffalo City from ages of nine to 15. 

These kids will be equipped with water safety skills and an introduction on swimming.

Every summer, thousands of visitors flock to the beaches in BCM and sadly so, many families go back home with one of their loved ones wrapped in a body plastic bag.

To prevent any more of these tragedies, the Metro and its Sister City, the City of Leiden established a Water Safety Project in January 2016 where youngsters from Isibindi Child and Youth Care and Safe Park in Duncan Village were given introductory swimming lessons and trained on water safety.

This year, the programme continues with a six-month swimming programme where 20 youngsters from the Safe Park and another 20 from Scenery Park ages nine to 15 will be equipped with water safety skills.

The group from Scenery Park are children who were involved in the drowning tragedy at the Umzonyana Dam in Scenery Park where a young life was lost in February 2017.

The programme will ensure the identified participants are able to practice water safety activities in different aquatic environments and are able to swim and surf in a safe and fun way.

Buffalo City Municipality Spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said, “It is our aim that the life skill of swimming is imparted to as many children as possible and that they are exposed to the different forms of water sport including swimming, diving and surfing without fear.”

Buffalo City and the City of Leiden will spend a total of R137 550 towards the project covering costs that include swimming equipment and gear, transport to the venue and salaries for the project team.

The programme was launched on Wednesday 1 November 2017 at the Orient Beach Pool.

Speaking at the event, one of the learners Lisa Quluba who was very excited to benefit from the programme said, “I look forward to learning how to swim because I want to be able to save others.”

Motivating the participants, International Surfer, Craig Jarvis said, “Every time I see a young child get on a surfing board for the first time, I relive my childhood as I recall standing on my very first wave here at the orient beach.”

He then encouraged them to get familiar with the sea water as “the ocean can be your best friend but it can also be your enemy that is why safety is very important, it is sad to hear of children drowning at sea when it can be prevented through training and education.”

Special Programmes Portfolio Head, Xolani Witbooi appealed to the young group to commit fully to the programme so that one day they can represent the City at international sporting events such as the Olympic Games and also impart the knowledge to others.