Rollers rock, say Wild Coast residents given water lifeline by swimmers

A group of philanthropic swimmers donated water rollers to Wild Coast communities on March 13 2021.
Image: Michael Walker

Twenty families on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape will no longer have to carry buckets of water on their heads.

On Saturday, a group of philanthropic swimmers delivered 20 Hippo Rollers to residents of Tsweleni and Tshani.

Women and children in these communities still collect water in buckets and often walk long distances over rough terrain with their heavy load.

The Hippo Roller carries up to 90 litres and can be pulled or pushed.

A group of philanthropic swimmers donated water rollers to Wild Coast communities on March 13 2021. (Photo by: Michael Walker)

Andrew Chin from Swim For Rivers, an NPO seeking solutions to SA’s deteriorating waterways, and the 8 Mile Club,  swimmers who raise funds for good causes,  teamed up to buy and deliver the rollers to the communities.

Chin, who recently swam portions of the Vaal river to highlight pollution, said the rollers were an “interim solution to the challenge of ensuring fresh water for all”.

“We swim long distances in rivers to highlight the urgency of protecting them and we engage with communities along the way,” he said.

“Many say their biggest challenge is carrying heavy buckets. These rollers will help 20 families while we assist in identifying longer-term solutions with affected communities.”

A group of philanthropic swimmers donated water rollers to Wild Coast communities on March 13 2021. (Photo by: Michael Walker)

Tsweleni resident Makhilibana Bhofela, 86,  said the roller would help transport water from an outside tank to her home.

“And in winter, the children can now collect more water from the spring which is down a steep hill. This will help so much,” said Bhofela.

Swimmers Stan Kozlowski and Mervyn Bremmer from the 8 Mile Club, who transported the rollers from KwaZulu-Natal, said: “Watching children carrying heavy buckets on their heads in villages is devastating. We need to get many more rollers to these and other rural communities.”

by Philani Nombembe

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