12 February 2024

Bold KES Alumni Marks 50th Birthday With Chilly 7.5km Robben Island Swim to Fund Memorial Scholarship

Submitted by: Zane
Bold KES Alumni Marks 50th Birthday With Chilly 7.5km Robben Island Swim to Fund Memorial Scholarship

Dalan Holton, a 49-year-old director at Debella Finance from Morningside, Sandton, is embarking on an extraordinary journey as he approaches his 50th birthday on March 1, 2024.

Unlike the typical 'midlife crisis,' Dalan jokes, which might lead one to indulge in luxury or travel, he has set his sights on a challenge that is as symbolic as it is daunting—the swim through the shark-infested waters from Robben Island to the mainland at Bloubergstrand. This endeavor is not for personal glory but for a cause close to his heart.

"Before you question my sanity, let me assure you there's a method to my madness. This aquatic adventure isn't just about proving that I've still got it at 50. It's about something much bigger. I'm raising funds on BackaBuddy for the Daniel Lopes Memorial Scholarship." - says Dalan


The Daniel Lopes Memorial Scholarship

During his formative years at King Edward VII School (KES), one of Johannesburg's finest academic institutions, Dalan forged a lasting friendship with Antonio Lopes. They were in the same graduating class, swam on the same team, and have remained good friends for years. Years later, when Antonio’s son, Daniel, tragically passed away at the age of 12 in a freak accident on December 15th, 2018, it left a void in the hearts of those who knew him.

In his honor, the Daniel Lopes Memorial Scholarship was founded. Known for his "grit," hard work, and determination, Daniel excelled in academics and sports, embodying the spirit of perseverance. The Scholarship was established to support students facing financial hardships, ensuring that they could benefit from the rich educational and extracurricular offerings at KES.

To raise funds for the DLMS, Dalan has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, aiming to hit a target of R50,000. The campaign has already made a splash, raising R36,000 with the support of 27 donors.

The funds will assist two deserving students by covering 50% of their tuition fees at KES, payable for their entire high school career, offering them the opportunity to thrive in an environment that nurtures academic and personal growth.

The scholarship not only offers financial support but also encompasses emotional, social, and academic guidance through the TAG Foundation.

“I feel that attending a school like KES offers an unparalleled opportunity, and it would be tragic for anyone to miss out due to financial constraints. The value lies not just in the education but in the whole experience that KES provides. I would love to be able to provide this launchpad and experience to others,” says Dalan.


The Robben Island swim

The Robben Island swim, scheduled for February 15th, weather permitting, is more than a physical challenge for Dalan. It's a symbolic passage, representing endurance, hope, and remembrance with every stroke. The swim will start at Robben Island, covering a distance of approximately 7.5 kilometers to Bloubergstrand, though currents may extend this to 8 to 8.5 kilometers.

Despite the unpredictability and daunting aspects of the swim, including cold waters and the potential presence of sharks, Dalan's preparation and passion fuel his determination. His training, under the guidance of coach Cyndi Starr from Wahoo Aquatics and alongside training partners Andy Johnson and Suzette Prinsloo, has prepared him for this moment.


A Lesson in Laps

Beyond his professional achievements at Debella Finance, Dalan is a devoted family man. Married to Alison, who works in higher education, and father to a 5-year-old daughter named Evalee, he views this challenge as an opportunity to teach her about finding passion and helping others.

Dalan shares, “Be active and push yourself. Find something you love and then excel at it, stretching yourself but finding joy in the process every step of the way. If you can find a way for the thing you love and are good at to add value to other people’s lives—do that!”

His active lifestyle, which includes competitive swimming, racing cars, and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, for which he has a black belt, reflects his dedication to personal excellence and commitment to contributing to the community.

Dalan wants to thank the donors who, through their generous contributions on BackaBuddy, have wished him “Good tides” and “smooth currents” on his chilly swim. As his challenge approaches, Dalan is empowered by Daniel Lopes' legacy and the scholarship in his name, which will have a profound and lasting impact on the future of two deserving students who will get to experience the education and camaraderie KES provides.

Donate to this campaign on BackaBuddy: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/daniel-lopes-memorial-scholarship-5824967004013241637

Alternatively, donate via SnapScan: https://pos.snapscan.io/qr/Dalan_Holton

All donations made to this cause qualify for a Section 18A tax deduction.

Press release for immediate distribution: For more information, please contact Zane Groenewald- 082 602 0735 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.