On Friday 14 June, Carina Bruwer, contemporary flute player from South Africa and founding member of the award-winning instrumental group Sterling EQ, will attempt to swim 21km from Alicante to Tabarca Island in Spain, in support of Muzukidz, an organisation through which children from poor township families around Cape Town in South Africa are given the opportunity to learn to play the violin. After this solo “Swim For Hope”, Carina will present a solo Jazz flute concert in the evening at Suquer in Elche.
As a musician, Carina is widely known for her advanced flute technique combined with an idiosyncratic improvisation skills and soulful interpretations rarely associated with this instrument.
Carina holds a BMus (Hons) cum laude and leads the successful South African instrumental group Sterling EQ.
She has recorded over a dozen albums, performed in 15 countries, and won numerous awards for her work across the board, from purely Classical to crossover, instrumental pop and contemporary.
A veteran open water swimmer, Carina has completed a number of significant marathon swims which include the English Channel, the Gibraltar Straits, False Bay, Bonifacio Straits and many more (many of her swims were firsts and/or record breaking feats).
She founded Swim For Hope in 2014, in order to raise funds and awareness for South African organisations that she supports, through her swimming challenges. The project has raised close to R500,000 since its inception, as well as media coverage worth approximately R1 million.
Carina, an International Marathon Swimming’s Hall of Fame nominee who was also ranked as one of the World Open Water Swimming Association’s top 50 most “daring, courageous and audacious” open water swimmers in the world in 2015 and 2018, traveled to Europe from South Africa last week to acclimatise, and took part in the 15km Gran Fondo Cinque Terre Swim Marathon, where she won the female race and finished third overall behind the male runner-up.
She also plans to take part in the 12km Marnaton EDreams St Feliu de Guixols, one of the largest races in Spain, later in June.
The Alicante-Tabarce Swim For Hope is however her main focus, as it forms part of an important connection that the Swim For Hope beneficiary, Muzukidz, has with Spain, where a number of Suzuki violin schools support the organisation from fundraising and instrument donations.
Founded by violinist and teacher Maria Botha in 2015, Muzukidz offers violin tuition to dozens of children from various townships around Cape Town in South Africa. Using the Suzuki method, children from as young as the age of 3 are taught in groups as well as in individual sessions; some of them as regularly as 5 times per week.
The children get to perform in little concerts and bigger events, and take part in various Muzukidz related activities that are both enriching and offer valuable opportunities for the children as well as their families.
Francisco Canada, a Suzuki teacher from Madrid, has recently move his life to Cape Town to teach with Muzukidz on a permanent basis, so the funds raised will go towards creating a feasible and realistic job for him with Muzukidz, which would allow for more children to be able to join Muzukidz.
“When I swim in the open water and I get into my ‘zone’, I often experience a beautiful state of clarity, where the world makes sense to me and I feel enormously optimistic and filled with hope.
“I realise that I am hugely fortunate to be able to experience moments like this while so many people in this world are limited by their circumstances – certainly most people in South Africa – so Swim For Hope is all about sharing this optimism and spreading this feeling of hope that I experience in the open water”, says Carina.
“Muzukidz is the perfect beneficiary, as I truly believe in empowering South Africans and growing South Africa through education, and being more of a performer than a teacher myself, I was delighted to discover this amazing organisation as it represented everything I was hoping to support as a musician.
“I believe that giving a child the opportunity to learn a musical instrument goes way beyond the ability to make music or the possibility of being a musician one day. Music stimulates the brain in a very special way; in fact studies have shown that children who do 14 months of musical training displayed more powerful structural and functional brain changes. Imagine what this can do for a young child who comes from a poor background and who has limited opportunities and a limited support structure. I am convinced that organisations like Muzukidz are helping to mould our future leaders, inventors and change makers.”
Carina’s Swim for Hope is scheduled to start in Santa Pola, Alicante, at 07:00 on Friday 14 June.
The 21km should take anything between 5 and 7 hours, depending on sea conditions. Apart from the ultra distance; currents, wind and jellyfish represent the main challenges on this swim, which will be supported by Alicante based organisation Natura Open Water.
Carina will have an hour or two to rest before her evening concert at Suquer in Elche.
Carina Bruwer: www.facebook.com/carinabruwerofficial / www.instagram.com/carinabruwer