We asked you to come up with a name for extreme adventurer Richard Kohler’s kayak and you did us proud. Out of hundreds of entries received, the name that resonated with Kohler is Osiyeza – The Crossing. The name is synonymous with everything Kohler hopes to achieve when he attempts his solo-paddle from Cape Town – across the Atlantic – to Brazil, in February. It is also the title of a song made famous by the late, greatly-talented, Johnny Clegg & Juluka.

The winner of the ‘name the kayak’ competition is Maureen Marsberg and she wins the privilege of attending the kayak-naming ceremony, bragging rights and a paddle in the boat alongside Kohler before he heads off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Kohler had a tough time choosing the best name, there was a range of names from the silly ones to the more poignant ones like “HOPE” or “SMILE”, he said. The more funnier ones were definitely, Super Stroker, Prawn Star, Nauti Buoy and Spaghetti.

When he stumbled on the name Osiyeza among the entries, it immediately stuck. “Growing up in the 80’s Johnny Clegg & Juluka was part of our music culture. The song The Crossing (Osiyeza) speaks of people overcoming their challenges with incredible perseverance. I relate this to the challenges that I will need to overcome in the coming months.”

Kohler will be paddling an 8m custom designed kayak from Cape Town to Salvador, Brazil in February in aid of Operation Smile. He was meant to depart in January but due to COVID-19 restrictions he has pushed the date forward.

“The departure date is fluid. There are a number of hurdles to overcome before I will be satisfied that everything is good to go. With the Covid regulations limiting a big bash for the naming ceremony, I will leave it closer to my departure date for now,” he said.

Lockdown has set back the project by four months but this is a dream that will be realised, as soon as humanly possible. In the meanwhile, Kohler spends his days planning for his departure and making sure the kayak is in optimal condition for his once-in-a-lifetime adventure which will take him 6 700km unsupported from Cape Town to Brazil, something no one has ever attempted – all while raising funds for Operation Smile.

He has great advice to those contemplating extreme adventures: “What’s holding you back from doing what you have been dreaming of. You don’t live only once. You live every day and die only once!”


Picture: Supplied

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 21 years of journalism experience. Her motto - Travel. Eat. Repeat. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.