Songo Fipaza recently ran in the 2016 London Marathon to raise funds to build a swimming pool in Kayamandi, a township in Stellenbosch, South Africa, about an hour outside of Cape Town. His goal is to provide access to sport and recreational swimming programs—and reduce the number of drownings in Kayamandi each year.
Songo is a familiar face and friend to the AIFS family; nearly 1,000 of our AIFS alumni have studied abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa over the past decade. Many of us know Songo personally, having volunteered in Kayamandi. We’ve been fortunate to see the direct impact of Songo’s vision and grassroots efforts to improve living conditions and opportunities within the township.
Like most people in Kayamandi, Songo grew up without learning to swim. Last year, he challenged himself to learn in preparation for an Ironman competition. He was 40 years old. Within six months, he completed an Ironman triathlon—including a 3.8 km swim in open water. In his words:
If I can learn to swim at 40 and complete Ironman, imagine what kids in Kayamandi could do with the opportunity to learn to swim—they can participate in swimming safely, compete in triathlons, and even in the Olympics or Commonwealth games. Please help me to fulfill this dream by donating to build the Kayamandi Swimming Pool to provide a safe place for the kids to swim and fulfill their dreams.
We are so proud to support Songo as he chases another dream to improve his hometown. You can make a donation to bring a pool and swimming programs to Kayamandi.
Let’s spread the word on social media and encourage people to donate, raise awareness and congratulate Songo for completing the 2016 London Marathon!