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Swimming is freedom

Swimming offers a sense of freedom and Soraya Salie from Bonteheuwel is determined to make women in the community aware of that.

Salie sets aside four days a week to reach out to the community and give them hope.

On Mondays and Wednesdays she gets the women together for a workout session to “lift the spirits” she says.

And then every Tuesday and Thursday she hosts an hour-long swimming lesson at the Bonteheuwel swimming pool.

Salie is also founder of the Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies which was established in 2007.

Many of the women who participate in the swimming lessons are part of the Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies.

She says many women told her they want to learn to swim. Some said they want to get over their fear of being in a swimming pool.

“In our swimming club, our oldest swimmer is 82-year-old Mariam Naidoo followed by Magdalene Meiring who is 80-years-old.

“This just goes to show that there are so many women in our communities who are willing to avail themselves to get involved with different activities,” says Salie.

“We had so many shootings in our area this morning (Thursday 20 February), but the ladies still chose to come out for their swimming lessons. We can’t allow these elements to stop us from living our lives the best we can,” says Salie.

According to Naidoo, the swimming lessons has allowed her to mingle and make more friends.

“Before joining a few weeks ago, I have been following Soraya on Facebook. When she posted that they’ll be offering swimming lessons it got me interested.

“At the age of 82, you’re not as stable on your knees so this provides me with some light workouts. We do aquarobics as well,” she says.

Meiring describes the swimming lessons as “fantastic”.

“I love being in the water. And to think, a few years ago I would’ve never thought I’d ever be in a swimming pool. Now this allows me to show my children that you are never too old to try something new, especially at 80-years-old.”

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