Hero cop makes big splash in Maitland with swimming academy
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Cape Town - A retired City law enforcement officer, who was fêted as a hero after battling heavy waves to rescue two people, including a lifeguard, at Camps Bay in 2009, is now making a big splash in Maitland where he is coaching young people in life-saving skills to keep others from drowning.
After a number of personal challenges over the past few years since he left the City’s employ after 30 years, Keith Abrahams finally managed to get his non-profit organisation, the Warobile Lifesaving Aquatics Academy, up and running at a formerly disused swimming pool at the Maitland Holy Cross High school.
Abrahams named the academy, which focuses its attention on getting young people off the streets and into the water, after Waroona Senosi and Qarabile Motswari, two teenagers who drowned at Camps Bay Beach in September 2013 while on an excursion with their school from North West province.
“On the day in question some of the learners decided to go for a swim at Camps Bay beach but they got into difficulty and the two boys drowned. Their bodies were never recovered.
“I was not at the beach that day. I was devastated at the story and took it upon myself to do something to honour those boys. Such incidents never happened while I manned the beaches. I joined their names and created a non profit and that is how we ended up with the name for the project.
“My aim is to get young people off the street and make them independent by teaching them to swim and to become life savers. If I can sway just a few of the kids and the unemployed youth from the path of crime and get them interested in the water, I believe it will go a long way to making a better Western Cape and, in fact, a better South Africa for all,” said Abrahams.
He said his brother Darrel Abrahams introduced him to school principal Mike Fouche. The project is a joint venture between Warobile and Holy Cross High School.
“We at Holy Cross High School are continually looking at ways of creating symbiotic community relationships,” said Fouche.
“We had the pool and facility but needed to focus on challenges in other areas. So when I phoned Keith and asked if Warobile needs a new home the result was a very good relationship that is already bearing fruit.
“The project offers local youths an opportunity to use a pool in their neighbourhood and potentially divert them from less desirable activities. Also, it may potentially unlock hidden sporting talent in our direct community.”
He said the project’s main emphasis is to be a community building initiative.