My swimming project here in Cape Town has attracted some local interest and yesterday I was interviewed by the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Nancy Richards from the women's programme "Otherwise" invited me onto her show. Having fled London screaming that I needed a break it was actually a lot of fun to be back in a radio studio. Not least because of Nancy's other guest, Joan Wanyama. Joan's been in South Africa for two years having married a white South African. They met when he was working in construction in Kenya and she was the checkout girl at his local supermarket. They married, had a son and moved to Cape Town where Joan's been a housewife and writer. She's just finished a book for young adults about a school girl who has an affair with her teacher and contracts HIV.
Joan told me that being a black woman married to a white South African isn't easy. She and her husband feel they can't show affection in public because of the criticism and disapproval. Her husband's family want her to divorce him and refuse to allow her into their lives. She told me it's very different from Kenya where mixed-raced couples are considered normal. So did she like living in Cape Town? "It's beautiful, but I'm disappointed with white South Africans", she said.
Meanwhile, I wrote to legendary South African swimmer Lewis Pugh for some swimming tips. You may remember Lewis as the man who swam down the whole length of the Thames last year to raise awareness about climate change. He's also swam in Antartica in just his speedos - read all about it here.
Lewis wrote back with a long list of training tips including:
If the cold is a problem, there are a number of ways you can improve your
ability to withstand cold in the short term
1. Eat more. The fatter you are - the better you are able to withstand cold.
I have never met a thin animal in Antarctica! So now is not the time to diet.
2. Practice only in the cold. Cold showers. Swim in the sea. Not in a pool.
Get into Clifton. Over a very short period of time you will notice a MASSIVE
improvement. But u just have to stick to it. Be determined. Your body will
3. Power of the mind. Be flipping determined. When u get in, have no doubt.
Fix in your mind that u r getting out at one place - Blouberg.
But if the water is around 11 - 13 degrees - no matter how hard you try, it's
gonna be an uphill struggle, if you are very thin. This is one sport where it
helps to be a little chunky!
Thanks Lewis! I'm off now to train with couple of chocolate bars and full fat latte....