As the world becomes more health-conscious, Scottsville’s women are not getting left behind – a group of them are meeting regularly at the community hall each week for exercise classes.
The fitness club was started by the City of Cape Town in July last year, and about 35 women, many of them unemployed, are using it to stay fit.
A similar number of women attend another club in Scottsdene.
Activities include aerobics, short sprints and other light exercise on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Louis du Toit says after being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood and diabetes, she lived for years taking three different pills, three times a day.
Then she decided to join the club in February. Eight months later her doctor told her she only needed to take her diabetes medication – the other pills were no longer necessary because of her improved levels of fitness.
“I used to take the car to go shop in Brackenfell, now I walk there (from Scottsville). After the gym, I walk long distances, and this lifestyle has changed my life. My only regret is not discovering it earlier.
“My life has changed incredibly. As a result of keeping fit regularly, I’ve shed some weight and feel super-duper. I take fewer pills than before… It’s an added bonus.”
City fitness programme volunteer and trainer, Vanessa Abrahams, helps the women at the Scottsville and Scottsdene clubs.
She has watched a lot of them transform their bodies and health by simply exercising.
She said one of her proudest moments had been helping an arthritic and wheelchair-bound woman, who couldn’t hold her hands up. But now she can raise her hands without any discomfort for as long as she wants.
Emmanuel Mthyuda, who works closely with Ms Abrahams, said the aim of the project had been to promote a healthy lifestyle in Scottsville and in other communities.
“It’s a social space for the ladies in communities, especially the unemployed. The challenge is consistency, but we always have the numbers.”
Classes run from 9am to 10am on Mondays and from 9am to 11am on Wednesday.
City of Cape Town spokeswoman, Priya Reddy, said the programme, which is held in several other parts of the city, encourages social cohesion.
“The fitness programme aims to promote active engagement in fitness activities and encourage young and old to take part in a safe, fun and engaging environment,” she said.