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Mother seeks to highlight swimming dangers

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Spurred by the tragic drowning of her 18-month old child three years ago, a young mother has taken it upon herself to try and teach parents and children across the Cape Flats how to swim, as well as to the correct safety precautions to take when “hitting the waters”.

Fulltime instructor, Nazlie Manchest currently runs a swimming club at the Manenberg public pools. At the time of her son’s untimely death, she was operating on a part time basis during the summer months only.

Much of her focus aims to educate parents and children alike around proper water safety practices, especially since many in the community still lack the skill.

“It’s about awareness and getting parents to get their kids to learn how to swim. Even parents, I teach them how to do CPR in case of emergencies so that they don’t have to depend on life guards or assistance from other people,” she highlighted.

“Kids just see water; they don’t see the danger around it.”

Amongst her biggest worries is the general perception that any and every water source can be deemed an appropriate place to swim. This is especially problematic when dealing with dams and reservoirs.

“We need to look where there are safety measures, where there are life guards and where you can get assistance in case of anything that happens. It (dams) is dark waters and anything can happen. Whether you are a good swimmer or whether you can’t swim at all, danger always comes,” she stated.

She also urged parents to keep a watchful eye over their children at all times when near water, regardless of whether they were confident in the child’s swimming capabilities.

“There is something called a silent drowner, which is a very dangerous thing. Your child can look as if they are smiling at you but in the meantime they are drowning,” she stressed, expounding that in such cases the individual’s body and facial expressions often went into a state of shock, leaving them unable to call out for assistance.

Manchest holds classes at the Manenberg pools every Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The Tuesday classes cater to children and babies from the age of two and up, whilst the Wednesday classes are more geared towards adults.

“What we do with the baby classes is that we have the parents in the water with them, basically up until the age of 4 or 5 years old. What we do is teach you how to teach your child how to swim,” she explained.

Manchest is hoping to introduce CPR classes every Monday night from this month onwards.

All classes will officially start during the 1st week in January. Manchest also conducts private classes for females at her personal residence in Primrose Park.

Manchest’s contact details will be provided on request from the VOC studios. Contact us at 021 447 3500. VOC

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