The Cows Media Release


26 Jan 2018

Embargo: None

Written by: Dave Macleod

Brave swimmers conquer Jozini Dam Gorge for CHOC

Durban - Five brave open-water swimmers completed the first ever crossing of the hippo and crocodile inhabited Jozini Gorge, raising over R70 000 for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation in the process.

The eight kilometre long swim from the gorge mouth to the Jozini Tiger Lodge was closely monitored by a flotilla of escort boats to ensure the safety of the four men and one woman who undertook the crossing on Sunday 21 January in two groups.

At 7:45 am the first group consisting of Jose De Charmoy, Ruth Azran, Mike Oberholser and Andy Stevens set out. The conditions were perfect with little to no wind and welcome cloud cover.

The quicker swimmer Jay Azran set off twenty minutes after the main group, and managed to catch them halfway across the Gorge.

The group, flanked by their escort flotilla and the Shayamanzi houseboat then managed to complete the remainder of the swim, making the most of the favourable conditions.

They arrived at the jetty at the Tiger Lodge, completing the eight kilometre adventure in two hours and forty one minutes to become the first swimmers to complete the Jozini Gorge crossing.

"We were truly blessed with fantastic conditions, a strong Easterly would have made the swim that much more challenging but luckily this never picked up," said Ruth Azran.

"We did hit a current with about 1,5km to go but only for a short while.

"The support from both local and afar has been amazing," she added. "It really all came together on the day. I am over the moon!’’

Through personal sponsorships and donations the five swimmers raised over R70 000 for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Buoyed by their achievement, they are now planning to make this an annual event.

More information can be found at

About The Cows
The Cows were started in 2008 by a group of eight enthusiastic cyclists keen to make a difference and raise funds for CHOC. Cordi van Niekerk was one of the founder members and joined Kerrin and Grant Bain in cycling the 94.7 Cycle Challenge in memory of their little daughter, Jessica, who had recently died from cancer at just 20 months old.

As CHOC had played a significant role in the Bain family's life in the last few weeks of Jessica’s life, specifically with palliative care and emotional support, the decision was to make CHOC the beneficiary of their quest. They decided to don cow suits and succeeded in raising R230 000.

In 2009, the herd gained momentum and grew to an incredible 140 energetic cows. Just two years later the herd numbered a staggering 350 cows all riding for a purpose. Armed with the ‘Love Living Life’ slogan and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, the herd has enjoyed much success and acclaim.

Ten later, hundreds of people have participated in events wearing cow suits. The Cows have just broken through the R29 million mark of funds raised for specific projects implemented by CHOC and The Cows brand is prominent in many sporting events in South Africa. With these funds, CHOC is able to make a difference to the children being treated for cancer throughout South Africa.

One herd; one quest: to make a difference to children with cancer. Love Living Life!

More information can be found at


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Jay Azran during his successful swim across the length of the Jozini Gorge to raise money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation. Supplied/
Gameplan Media

(From left) Jay Azran, Ruth Azran, Mike Oberholtzer, Andrew Stevens and Jose de Charmoy following the first successful swim across the length of the Jozini Gorge to raise money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation. Supplied/
Gameplan Media

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