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OUR STORY

AFRICAN CHILDREN AQUATIC FOUNDATION

A FOUNDATION FOR THE PEOPLE - BRING BACK THE FUN AND THE SMILE

HOW IT ALL STARTED

 

The African Children Aquatic Foundation (ACAF) is the brainchild of Arrie and Lizette Botha. They own the largest swimming academy for infants and toddlers in South Africa, namely Kiddies Aqua Swimming Academy. This swimming academy was established in 1993 and serves nearly 4 000x swimmers every month at their eight branches, which includes a newly established branch in Namibia. Lizette, a world-leading expert on infant swimming, used to be a Board Member of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation (South Africa) and together with Arrie they are still doing many projects as project managers under the auspices of the Princess’s foundation. Lizette also went to Monaco to teach the Princess’s twin babies (Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella) to swim and to be water safe. To bring all this current charity work (that they do daily) closer to home and to make it more manageable, they have decided to establish their own foundation, namely the African Children Aquatic Foundation (ACAF). Arrie and Lizette’s team of swimming instructors are involved in many swimming-upliftment programmes in the townships around Pretoria (South Africa), benefiting hundreds of young Black children and adults who never had the chance to learn how to swim. It even includes a school for deaf children (Dominican School for the Deaf) in the Hammanskraal township, 39km north of Pretoria. Over the past six years, they have been transporting and teaching hundreds of children daily to their highly modern-, indoor-, heated swimming facility at the University of Pretoria. Currently, all these projects are funded from Arrie and Lizette’s swim school budget and amounts to hundreds of thousands of Rands every year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE INITIAL SPARK BEHIND THE FOUNDATION

 

The ACAF is also a tribute to Arrie’s father (Philip Botha) who passed away in 1988. He used to be the mayor of a small town in the Northern Cape (South Africa) for several years when the people of South Africa were still segregated under the Apartheid-government’s Group Areas Act of 1950. He was a true bridge builder in this community he served and always tried to make a difference in the lives of people from all races and classes. Under his mayoral leadership (which was a part-time-, voluntary job) he focused strongly on unifying the various communities and on the improvement of infrastructure in the surrounding Black- and Coloured townships. He tried to bring hope, pride, and respect to these people by means of several upliftment projects and infrastructure development, sometimes with money from his own pocket and equipment from his own construction business. His own employees (mostly people of colour) working in his very successful construction business also benefited from his “giving-nature” towards other people. He bought vacant residential stands for these workers and assisted them with building materials to build their own houses on these stands, without charging them anything for it. Again, trying to bring pride and respect back to them by allowing them to stay in well-constructed- and respected houses. As a young teenage boy in the early 80’s, Arrie was inspired by this gesture and actions of his dad and now several decades later, feels the same need to do something similar and more for the township children under their own foundation and built on their vast experience in the swimming industry and working in the townships previously.

 

 

THE MAIN AIM OF THE FOUNDATION

 

For Arrie and Lizette the good work must continue and with the necessary means and the right partners the African Children Aquatic Foundation can become a community leader in the prevention of accidental drownings and in the development of young swimming stars for the future. It will also create valuable job opportunities for people from these poverty-stricken communities when various “swim hubs” will be established in these communities. The main aim of the foundation is to establish self-sustainable heated indoor swimming facilities (swim hubs) in the Black townships where people from the community will be trained to teach swimming to toddlers, young children, and adults from these communities. It will be projects from-the-community-to-the-community. It will empower community members on so many different levels. If donor funds allowed, this foundation would like to establish these “swim hubs” in as many as possible Black townships across South Africa and the rest of Africa. The first swim hub is already under construction in the Winterveld (50km northwest of Pretoria), sponsored by Raheem Nkumane, a prominent businessman and community leader from that area.   ​

A FOUNDATION FOR THE PEOPLE

African Children Aquatic Foundation can become a community leader in the prevention of accidental drownings and in the development of young swimming stars for the future.

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OUR DRIVING FORCE

VISION

The ACAF’s vision is to remain the most advanced non-profit swimming foundation with a focus of cultivating water awareness, safety and swim performance for the African child at a grassroots level.

 

MISSION

Our mission is reach as many as possible disadvantaged children and communities to empower them with the skill of swimming.

 

VALUES

  • Water Safety - refers to the procedures, methods, precautions, and policies associated with safety in-, on- and around bodies of water, where there is a risk of injury or drowning.

  • Skill Transfer - is the transmission of abilities or expertise which may be used in a variety of roles or occupations.

  • Sustainability – the ability to maintain and/or support our projects continuously over time.

 

GOALS

  • Assist Children

  • Build and empower communities

OUR TEAM

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Lizette Botha

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Lizette Botha (Board Member and Project Manager)

 

After completing a degree in Human Movement Science (University of Pretoria), Lizette Botha started her swim coaching career in 1989. She is one of the highest qualified- and most experienced swimming instructors in the field of water safety for infants and toddlers in the world, with many national- and international certification and accreditations behind her name. She often presents seminars at swimming conferences, baby expos and do regular talks on national radio and television. She also visits prominent swim coaches (with different backgrounds and swimming programmes) around the world from time to time. She teaches 100+ babies individually to swim every day. Her team of 17x highly qualified and experienced full-time swimming instructors looks after the toddlers, pre-schoolers, and adults and are reckoned to be amongst the best in the industry. Lizette is a member of Swimming South Africa, Les Bébés Amphibies (Switzerland), Tuks Swim Coaches Association and a project manager for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation (South Africa). She also served as Swimming South Africa’s Liaison Officer in Mpumalanga Province for many years. Together with the world-renown pioneer of the baby self-rescue water safety method, Jean Fouace (Les Bébés Amphibies - Switzerland), Lizette founded Amphibies Babies Africa™. In 2012, Jean gave her all the rights to teach this method all over the African continent. Lizette and her team will be responsible for the training and refreshing of all the instructors of the various swim hubs in the townships and villages.   

Arrie Botha (Board Member and Chief Executive Officer)

Arrie holds an honours degree in B Com Marketing Management (University of Pretoria). He is the CEO of Kiddies Aqua Swimming Academy (Pty) Ltd and will also oversee all the responsibilities of the foundation. Arrie previously followed a very successful career of 29-years as a senior-, provincial- and national manager in corporate South Africa (South African Breweries, Business Partners, Capitec Bank and GP Retail Operations). He also served as the President of Mpumalanga Swimming and completed various swim officiating courses.

Arrie Botha

Mikal and Carmen Botha (Working Committee Members & Team Leaders)

Both Arrie and Lizette’s daughters (Mikal and Carmen) have regularly been selected for the South African Youth- and Junior Swimming squads during their school careers in Pretoria and recently completed their 4-year studies in the USA. They were both on swim scholarships in the USA representing Tampa University (Tampa, Florida), University of North Texas (Denton, Texas), St Francis College (Brooklyn Heights, New York) and Oklahoma Christian University (Edmond, Oklahoma City) during their studies. They are now following in their parents’ footsteps by becoming part of their swim school. As part of the foundation’s contingency plan, they form part of the Working Committee and Team Leadership of the ACAF.   

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Mikal Botha

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Carmen Botha

Irene Mokoena (Board Member and Project Manager)
 

Irene joined Kiddies Aqua Swimming Academy in 2001. She completed Matric (Grade 12) and is also registered with Swimming South Africa. She grew up in the rural area of Mpumalanga. Irene specializes in the bridging phase between the babies and toddlers, learn-to-swim for toddlers (all three phases), stroke- and stroke correction, adult swimming, and special needs kids. She started with Lizette at her swim school in Nelspruit in 2001 and a few years later qualified as one of South Africa’s first Black Learn-to-Swim instructors. Apart from her normal swim teaching work is she daily involved with projects that Kiddies Aqua conducts under the auspices of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. She understands the impact that development work can result into for these young less-privileged learners. In 2017 she received the award for the Best Swimming Instructor at Kiddies Aqua. Irene is a super coach who learnt her trade through Lizette. She is fluent in seven different languages, including Afrikaans, English, Pedi, Venda, Sotho, and Shangaan. She is passionate about swimming and a real mother figure to her swimmers. She is a goal-driven-, positive-, enthusiastic hard worker and a good communicator. She builds and maintains brilliant relationships with her swimmers and their parents. She is an enthusiastic student of the sport and always tries to stay informed on all the latest developments in swimming. With her swimming instructor income, she supported her adopted son financially to complete his university studies and become a CA.  

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Irene Mokoena

OUR TEAM
Arrie Botha
Lizette Botha

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

  1. Become a one-off or monthly Donor

  2. Become a Partner

  3. Become a Volunteer

  4. Adopt-an-Athlete

  5. Adopt-a-Pre-School

  6. Sponsor Swim Scholarships

  7. SMS Competition

  8. Buy a Lollipop

OUR PARTNERS
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