Poolside chat with Abel Mokoena

Posted on May 23, 2019

Meet Abel Mokoena (62) of Mamelodi, who’s been taking care of the Hillcrest Campus 50-metre swimming pool since 1984.

A nationwide study on the effects of chemicals on competition and training swimming pools was conducted by two learners from Waterkloof High School over two years. Water samples were collected from pools after national and regional competitions, and tested – and the LC de Villiers pool was found to consistently have the best quality pool water. And it’s thanks to Mokoena’s dedication that the Olympic-size pool is in such excellent condition.

Abel Mokoena


“I am very grateful to learn about the research findings, considering that there are several international and national swimmers who make use of this facility on a daily basis,” Mokoena says. “It feels amazing – clearly this means hard work and dedication pays off in the end. If you love what you do, you will always produce the best results.”

But the committed caretaker must have had a few challenges to contend with over the years?

“Algae are one of the main problems – not just at UP, but everywhere,” he explains. “But I know how to keep my pool sparkling clean: there needs to be a balance of chemicals. For example, the amount of chlorine and HP should be balanced, otherwise this could cause irritation to the eyes and ears of swimmers, which could lead to infections.”

Mokoena’s intention from here on is simple: “I plan to continue keeping this pool as clean as possible for our swimmers,” he says.

- Author Xolani Mathibela

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