Zille open to renaming Robben Island swim after 'nation-builder' Theo Yach

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says Theodore Yach was a role model who made a massive contribution to society.

60-year-old Yach was South Africa’s most renowned open water sea swimmer. He passed away on Wednesday.

The Cape Town businessman was undergoing routine tests for an asthma complaint when he collapsed and passed away in hospital.

Zille describes Yach as one of the most generous, warm, open-hearted and community-driven people she's ever known.

Read: 'Theodore Yach has left an amazing legacy for open water swimming'

She believes that Yach suffered from a pulmonary embolism.

He was a veteran of 108 Robben Island swims, an English Channel swim and many other international distance swims.

Since the news of his passing, there have been calls to rename the testing Cape Town to Robben Island swim after him.

Zille says she open to the suggestion, which would have to be considered through official channels in The City of Cape Town.

She says the proposal to commemorate Yach should not fracture the public into competing interests groups.

He was so young and so fit. He was the optime of someone who lives a healthy life.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

He really was a nation-builder - a social cohesive force across all kinds of boundaries.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

He said we cannot let the city centre degenerate.... It was his driving force that put the CCID together.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

Theodore Yach put ultra, long distance cold water swimming on the world map.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

Any renaming has to go through a process.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

We can make the debate around the [renaming], a debate of nation-building, rather than division, in Theodore's memory.

Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier

Listen to the Premier on Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:


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Theodore Yach (60) was a veteran of 108 Robben Island swims, an English Channel swim and many other international distance swims.

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