Mfuleni resident keeps township residents fit

2016-06-03 07:03
Aleas Madodana Stokwe stands outside his home, which doubles as a gym. (Masixole Feni, GroundUp)

Aleas Madodana Stokwe stands outside his home, which doubles as a gym. (Masixole Feni, GroundUp)

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Cape Town - For the past 16 years, residents of Mfuleni township have had access to a gym, thanks to the initiative and continued effort of Aleas Stokwe, GroundUp reports.

“I noticed how active the residents of the community were, and thought that a gym would be very useful for all of us,” he says.

In 1999, he used his savings to buy a single bench press and set of weights, which he set up in his own house.

Many residents quickly signed up for the gym, allowing Stokwe to purchase more equipment and space. Today, dozens of weight machines, exercise cycles, and benches are crowded into a 20x2 extension to his house.

More than 70 residents pay the R80 monthly membership fee.

Although he is the gym's sole manager, Stokwe still has to divide his time between it and a local shop he owns. Even while working two jobs, Stokwe found the time to plan and build all the extensions to the gym.

Every afternoon, people come from work and go to the gym.

He sees the facility as a way to foster pride in the community, and combat negative stereotypes of the township. In future, Stokwe wants to make the gym more accessible by expanding the size and adding amenities such as showers and toilets.


Community residents working out in Aleas Stokwe's home gym in Mfuleni. (Masixole Feni, News24)

Read more on:    cape town  |  health  |  good news

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