Former Hout Bay civic leader launches book

Len Swimmer has written an autobiography, “Swimming against the Tide”.

Former Hout Bay civic leader Len Swimmer visited the town last Saturday for the launch of his autobiography, Swimming against the Tide.

Mr Swimmer chaired the Hout Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association for 15 years.

Two years ago, after his wife died suddenly, he moved to Plettenberg Bay to start a new life.

“It was just too sad for me to live there any longer,” he said.

Swimming against the Tide takes readers through the highs and lows of his life. He has spent a lot of time fighting environmental issues and has run motivational workshops for senior executives.

He knows what it’s like to be fired, retrenched, made redundant, but also to be head hunted to be the CEO of a large car firm… only to be left jobless a few months later after the company was sold.

He suffered some major losses in his personal life. Apart from the death of his wife, his “much-loved“ teenage son, Jeremy, committed suicide.

“Each time I had to face a loss, and with the support of family and friends, I learnt to adapt, be resilient and be prepared to make major life and employment changes,” he said.

Mr Swimmer unveiled his autobiography outside The Bay Bookshop at the Mainstream Shopping Centre.

“The launch was overwhelming as a tidal wave of people gathered around the table and were all anxious to read the book,” he said.

The book has already received some rave reviews. Judge Ashley Binns-Ward, from Hout Bay, said: “Hout Bay is well known for the interesting characters that have lived there. In the 20 years that Len Swimmer was part of the community, he featured prominently as a well-liked, colourful, and sometimes controversial, leader of the valley’s residents’ and ratepayers’ association who over the years has made a positive difference in the lives of so many.”

Dr Clive Noble, an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in sports traumatology, said: “In boxing parlance, one would say that Len has been down, but not out. His book, however, is a knockout, and there are valuable lessons to be learnt here, which Len passes on to the reader.”

Chairman of the Friends of Princess Vlei, Phillip Bam, said: “It is a book that I could not put down until it was finished. Thank you for the book that is indeed insightful with stories about your life. The book was an easy read, as if you were talking to me as I read through the book.”

Email swimmer@telkomsa.net if you would like to buy a copy.