Shape up at Soweto’s outdoor gym
Residents of Dlamini, Soweto can now work out in style (and on world-class equipment) for free.
An innovative partnership between Green Outdoor Gyms and City Parks saw the recent opening of an outdoor gym in Petrus Molefe Eco Park, the sixth of its kind built under City Parks’ Greening Joburg initiative.
Previously an unused piece of arid land, the park underwent a makeover at the beginning of March and was converted into a fully-fledged, “green” recreational facility.
Oscar Oliphant, senior manager at City Parks, explains, “South Africa has the second most obese people in the world and the problem will only get bigger if ignored.” Now residents can do push-ups on the commons under the sky and use world-class gym equipment to get fit.
Like residents of Diepkloof, Protea Glen, Claremont, Wilgeheuwel and Pimville, gym bunnies in Dlamini can use all the equipment, and attend aerobics classes, for free.
Tim Hogins from Green Outdoor Gyms says, “The gym has 10 sets of equipment that can accommodate 20 people at a time. The equipment cannot be stolen because it is fixed in concrete, and it is weatherproof.”
Khehla Nkosi, who doubles as a security and a fitness instructor at the gym, says, “In the morning around 6am you can find about 40 people training; at midday about 15, and in the afternoon about 30.”
Nkosi adds that even the old ladies from the neighbourhood have taken to the gym and turn up for almost 20 minutes a day of supervised training.
Simon Moyaba, from Chiawelo, about five minutes’ drive from Dlamini, says, “I used to train at the gym at Grace Bible Church, which is further from my house than here, and we had to pay to use it. Now I just come here and park my car and train.” He adds that, although it does get full, there is a courtesy among users and there have never been quarrels for any machines.