Cape Town - A friend and fellow
South African swimmer to Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene, Ryk Neethling, has
been appointed CEO of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa,
a prestigious voluntary position in South Africa's charitable sector.
“Ryk is a true
champion - a man of integrity,
talent and remarkable inner strength,” commented
Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene (formerly Charlene Wittstock).
“He is passionate
about water safety and will, I know, take my Foundation from strength to
strength in South Africa,” continued the
Neethling is one of the most accomplished swimmers in history. An Olympic gold medalist and the first South African athlete to represent his country at four
consecutive Olympic Games, he also holds the title as a three-time world champion and four-time world record breaker.
his retirement from swimming, Neethling’s
successful business career started with the launch of the Ryk Neethling Swimming
Schools franchise in 2008 before he moved to the Val de Vie Estate in the
Western Cape where he is both a shareholder and the marketing director.
2016, Neethling has served as an Ambassador to the Princess Charlene of Monaco
Foundation alongside Francois Pienaar and Terence Parkin in South Africa. He is
also actively involved in the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and is
an Ambassador for Hope Through Action.
On June 4, 2017, Neethling and Percy Montgomery won the Riviera Water Bike Challenge
in aid of The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. This 21km ProAm relay
race from Nice to Monaco on water bikes was the first race of its kind in the
world and raised the funds to build an aquatic rescue centre in Burkina Faso, a
project organised in partnership with the Monaco Red Cross and the Burkinabe Red Cross.
is certainly one of the greatest swimmers this country has seen and he is keen
to use his influence as an athlete to inspire young people and uplift
communities. We are all thrilled that he has chosen to take on this new role - he is
the right man for the job,” remarked Gavin Varejes, businessman and President of The
Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA.
on his appointment, Neethling explained, “Since
my swimming career started at the age of five after a near-drowning incident, I have
shared the same passion for water safety as Her Serene Highness Princess
Charlene. Twenty-five years ago, we both began representing South Africa at
international swimming competitions, and it is an incredible
honour for me to now be entrusted with the task of leading her Foundation here
in our country.”
am excited about the future of The Princess Charlene of Monaco
Foundation SA as the cause is a critical one. Under the leadership of Gavin
Varejes, the Board has done a great job and I will continue to rely on their
experience and commitment in making a difference,” he
went on to say.
Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation was established in 2012 and has since
reached over 300 000 people worldwide in its quest to reduce death by drowning,
with operations being established in South Africa in 2013. The work of
the Foundation is internationally acknowledged and celebrated for raising public
awareness about the dangers of water, teaching children essential
water safety skills and how to swim.
World Health Organisation estimates that drowning claims the lives of more than
60 000 children under the age of five and more than 360,000 people globally
each year. In South Africa, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental
death after road accidents.
2016, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA taught 2 507 children to
swim and 27 242 children essential water
safety skills through 23 projects in South Africa.
a month ago, the Foundation partnered with Lifesaving South Africa (LSA) in
order to expand its work across the country. At the announcement of this
development, LSA President, Dylan Tommy said, “with the Princess as our
Patron and the partnership we have established
with The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA, we will be able to achieve
far greater success in our fight against drowning in South Africa”.
For more information on the
Foundation please go to http://www.fondationprincessecharlene.mc/en