Arafat Gatabazi

Born in a war camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo, my three siblings and I were raised by my single mother. I lost two siblings in the camp. At 17, my sister, my two younger cousins and I fled the DRC. We journeyed through 5 countries and eventually reached Cape Town, where we were taken in at The Homestead - a safe haven. This is where I learned to swim and discovered a passion for open-water swimming. In 2014 I attempted my first long-distance swim from Robben Island to the Blouberg shoreline. I suffered from hyperthermia around the 6km mark. I was pulled from the water. Three weeks later I completed the swim and was named Swimmer of the Year by the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association. Since then, I completed the swim 4 more times. My ultimate swimming goals are swimming the Strait of Gibraltar and the English Channel crossings. As a motivational speaker, I aim to inspire people from all walks of life. My message is simple: strive to make your dreams a reality and never let hopelessness win.

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