One of them, 22-year-old Shahim, has been a drug user for
half his life. But thanks to Cape Town swimming coach Anton Louw, he
now keeps his addiction at bay.
Louw is the brains behind an ambitious drug
rehabilitation project called Walking on Water. And he is under no
illusion that all the recovering addicts who signed up will make it to
“But we believe that by simply committing to the
program these brave souls have already taken a quantum leap forward
in their recovery,” he said.
The project includes several months of training for the
swimmers, who will have to brave 13°C water off the Cape coast. Their
goal is to complete the grueling Cadiz Freedom Swim next year — a
7.5km swim from Robben Island’s Murray Beach to Bloubergstrand.
But first the group will have to swim a section of False
Bay, a stretch of ocean off Muizenberg, around Cape Point and then
Dassen Island off the West Coast.
Speaking from a Grassy Park rehabilitation center his
family booked him into two weeks ago, Shahim said he took up swimming
to keep boredom in check while overcoming his addiction.
He had used “every drug on the market”, the latest being
heroin. It is his third time at the center. He was first admitted at 19.
The Lavender Hill youth smoked his first cigarette at nine and was hooked on dagga before turning 11.
“My younger brother is in his second year of college now,
studying electricity. I know I’m a disappointment to the family. They
are respected in the community. My mother started a brass band to keep
children off the streets and I did the exact opposite.”
He learnt to play the trombone but sold the instrument to buy drugs.
“When I go back home, I can show the people in my community what I have accomplished,” he said.
“Swimming from Robben Island to Blouberg will most definitely be an accomplishment.”
Published: Jul 27, 2008 (The Times)
“I have worked with Hired Power extensively in collaboration with Clearview Treatment Programs’ individualized outpatient program. I am always impressed with their effectiveness and professionalism.”
“Thanks again for being there for us and guiding us through some rough waters. Your kindness and genuine concern deeply touched my soul and we are all grateful our paths crossed when they did. You are a truly gifted professional, keep on doing what you do so well.”
“I just want to thank Hired Power for the PRA. He was a perfect match and I can’t say enough…. He was intensely committed. This is the first time I have been clean in over 30 years. Thank you again.”
“I don’t look at you (Hired Power) as hiring a service, I look at you as saving my life.” (referring to his ability to stay sober after returning home).