Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is the former President of South Africa between 1994-1999 and the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. President Mandela was a former anti-apartheid activist and the leader of the African National Congress's armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. He served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island, but he is now a celebrated and respected global statesman.
The name of this incredible individual is tied is various ways to open water swimming:
Nelson Mandela Bay is called Africa's Water Sports Capital where it offers many excellent sporting facilities and events throughout the year, including the 12-leg Axxess DSL Ocean Racing Series. Besides open water swimmers, surfers, boaters, sailors, skimboarders, scuba divers, snorkelers, fishermen and windsurfers congregate to enjoy the turquoise waters and varied marine life of the area.
Robben Island, located 12K from Cape Town, was for nearly 400 years a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. An island surrounded by cold water, the prison served its purpose. But now it is the starting point for many solo cold-water swims and the popular Cadiz Freedom Swim. While before Robben Island was meant to crush their morale of its visitors, it now serves to lift up their spirits.
Nelson Mandela Bay is also now a research location for the threat of Great White sharks to ocean-going visitors. The local authorities have commissioned a shark specialist and marine scientists to collect and analyze data on Great White sharks and their population, migration and behavioral patterns and to formulate contingency plans to address lifeguards' and emergency services' first-response actions when shark attacks may occur.