Shark attack survivor inspires St Andrew’s College boys

AFTER hearing Caleb Swanepoel speaking at the International Round Square Conference in Cape Town last year, Oscar Liss and Sanele Mboto invited him to speak to St Andrew’s College.

Shark attack survivor Caleb Swanepoel spoke to St Andrew’s College pupils recently.

Swanepoel spoke inspiringly about how adversity unlocks a love of life and an appreciation for both the simple things in life, as well as the profound experiences. He referred to himself as a shark attack survivor, rather than a shark attack victim, after he lost his leg to a great white shark while surfing in 2015.

He spoke movingly about the people who had helped him survive: his brother who swam back to him while he was being savaged by the shark and pulled him from the shark back to the shore, the NSRI who were on the scene within 15 minutes, his family, and his occupational therapist.

Swanepoel is a fourth year drama student at UCT, and shared some lessons that he had learned in adjusting to life with a prosthetic leg. He spoke about “making friends” with your disabilities (and everyone has a disability of some sort), rather than raging against it; he spoke about the importance of laughter and humour in coping with difficulties; and he shared the acronym that he had lived by since a young boy, and had seen him through this sudden and traumatic life experience, which is, I A D O Y (It all depends on you).

Shark attack survivor Caleb Swanepoel with St Andrew’s College pupils after he gave a motivational talk to the boys.

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