Brave swimmers to tackle Jozi Dam Gorge crossing for CHOC
Durban - Five gutsy open water swimmers will attempt the first ever crossing
of the Jozini Dam Gorge in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday 21 January,
raising funds for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.
The eight kilometre long swim up the Gorge, which separates the Lebombo and
Ubombo mountain ranges, will start at the entrance to the Gorge and finish
at the Tiger Lodge at the Jozini dam wall.
The group is made up of Mike Oberholzer, Ruth and Jay Azran, a South African
couple who currently live in Swaziland, Andrew Stevens, a South African
living in Australia, and Mauritian Jose De Charmoy.
"What makes this swim so unique is that the dam is flanked by private
wildlife reserves as well as the Pongola Game Reserve. Wildlife abound in
the area including the infamous tiger-fish, hippo and crocodiles," says Jay
The initiative is the brain-child of Ruth Azran who has lost both her mother
and brother to cancer.
‘’About three years ago, following the death of my mother, I decided that
one day in their honour I would swim the length of the gorge," says Ruth
"That time has now come, and I am truly fortunate to have my husband and
three very competent other swimmers join me on this challenge.
"I chose to do it for CHOC because it is a cause that is very close to my
heart, especially in our younger generation and I really liked their
fundraising component called the COWS. We will be sporting our cow costumes
and swimming caps on the day and give it our best shot," she said.
"We definitely all share some nervous anticipation for the swim, but feel
confident that we have done sufficient training," added Jay Azran.
The venture has been backed by a number of local businesses, including Tiger
Lodge, Royal Jozini Private Game Reserve - Swaziland, Cycad Rock Lodge,
Shayamoya Game Lodge, White Elephant Safari Lodge and Nimue Skin
So far nine support boats with some eagle-eye scouts have been organised to
assist in deterring wildlife. The swim is due to start at 9am and should
take about three hours to complete.
Financial pledges can be be made online at
More information can be found at
About The Cows
The Cows were started in 2008 by a group of eight enthusiastic cyclists
keen to make a difference and raise funds for CHOC. Cordi van Niekerk was
one of the founder members and joined Kerrin and Grant Bain in cycling the
94.7 Cycle Challenge in memory of their little daughter, Jessica, who had
recently died from cancer at just 20 months old.
As CHOC had played a
significant role in the Bain family's life in the last few weeks of
Jessica’s life, specifically with palliative care and emotional support, the
decision was to make CHOC the beneficiary of their quest. They decided to
don cow suits and succeeded in raising R230 000.
In 2009, the herd gained momentum and grew to an incredible 140 energetic
cows. Just two years later the herd numbered a staggering 350 cows all
riding for a purpose. Armed with the ‘Love Living Life’ slogan and a healthy
dose of enthusiasm, the herd has enjoyed much success and acclaim.
Ten later, hundreds of people have participated in events wearing
cow suits. The Cows have just broken through the R29 million mark of funds
raised for specific projects implemented by CHOC and The Cows brand is
prominent in many sporting events in South Africa. With these funds, CHOC is
able to make a difference to the children being treated for cancer
throughout South Africa.
One herd; one quest: to make a difference to children with cancer. Love
More information can be found at
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