The Arafat Gatabazi Fund - Carina Bruwer

Arafat Gatabazi just successfully completed matric and wants to study IT. He has been accepted and has registered for an IT course at the College of Cape Town, but needs urgent financial assistance in order to pay the tuition and residency fees (R40,000+ in total). Read on about this amazing individual…

Arafat fled from his homeland in October 2012, leaving his parents and two of his siblings behind, whom he suspects may have been subsequently murdered by the M23 troops. Arriving in Cape Town a month later, Arafat and his two cousins who fled with him, were eventually relocated to The Homestead, a registered non-profit organisation helping street children reconstruct their shattered lives. In January 2013 Arafat, who had completed the equivalent of Grade 10 in a village school called Kakungulu in the Congo, was placed in Grade 11 at the City Mission School.

On Saturday 28 June 2014, 19 year-old Arafat Gatabazi completed the 7.5km swim from Robben Island to Bloubergstrand, wearing only a standard swimsuit, swimming cap and goggles, in accordance with FINA open water swimming rules.

Arafat, who made his first attempt at this iconic open water swim two months before, being pulled out of the water with hypothermia just over 1km from Blouberg, completed the July crossing in a time of 3h33 and in water temperatures ranging between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius. Elated about his achievement, Arafat said after his crossing: “I enjoyed the swim and having my coach Maik swim the last 2 Km with me was a great feeling of support.” Tony Scalabrino, who officiated over the swim on behalf of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association (CLDSA), said “Arafat maintained amazing discipline throughout the period of his training and his crossing today was a good reward for such determination”

Arafat’s crossing was not only a feat of extreme cold water long distance swimming, but the culmination of a journey of hope and a fitting symbol of personal triumph over adversity for a young man who was forced to leave the life he knew by fleeing from the Congo two years ago.

LET’S KEEP THIS HOPE ALIVE! Please donate towards Arafat’s future – whatever you can – big or small – and spread the word!  Funds can be deposited into the below account; please be sure to use Arafat’s name as a reference, and send an email to when you have made the deposit.


NEDBANK (Branch 128842)

Account number:  102 037 8301

Ref: Arafat


With love, Carina Bruwer and all the swimmers and non-swimmers who will help Arafat beat the odds once again!

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