Dad, sons take on Midmar for guide dogs
TASCHICA PILLAY | 2017-02-10 06:57:39.0
Image by: Jackie Clausen
Visually impaired Pretoria lawyer and politician Hentie Nortje will swim the Midmar Mile – the biggest open-water swimming event in the world – this weekend to raise money for guide dogs.
Nortje, 54, will swim his 17th consecutive Midmar Mile on Saturday accompanied by his sons Henco and Arno.
The 44th staging of the famous open water swimming contest will take place tomorrow and Sunday in KwaZulu-Natal and has attracted over 11,000 swimmers.
Seven time men’s winner Chad Ho will be up against Olympic champion Ferry Weertman from the Netherlands.
The oldest participant to tackle the annual event is Arnold Beukes, 86, while the youngest will be Emma van Romburgh, 5.
Nortje said after his 10th Midmar Mile he decided to swim for NGOs and schools to give something back to the community.
Over the last four years Nortje has raised money for the Carel du Toit Centre for children with hearing disabilities, Pathways Pretoria School, Pula Difate Primary School and the DA.
“This year I decided to go back to my roots as a blind person and swim for the SA Guide Dog Association.
“Although I don’t use a guide dog, I know what a guide dog can do. The SA Guide Dog Association is an old institution but it doesn’t get any subsidies from the state.”
Nortje said he had raised R15,000 so far.
He said he loved sport and added that the Midmar Mile was “one of the best organised events in the country”.
Nortje has been swimming with his sons, who aid as his “pilots”, since 2010.
“It’s a nice experience for me to be able to do something with my children.
“We can’t play golf together or go on a hunting trip.
This is a nice family outing,” said Nortje.
Midmar Mile director Wayne Ridden said: “The water level is at 60%, which is higher than last year’s 47%.”