The Eastridge Community Gym Club is home to many talented children in the Mitchell’s Plain community.
The club offers ballet and gymnastics to the children.
Coach Zubeida Daniels and two volunteers accept any child that wants to learn gymnastics and ballet. Daniels said there is a beginner’s group where the new learners are exposed to the sport. The gymnasts are also given the opportunity to go for trials for the Western Cape Gymnastics Association. “This keeps them off the streets and busy,” she said. According to Daniels, every day is different. She said it’s hectic but you need to have a passion for it and these are talented children. “There’s a lot of criminal activity,” she said, adding that they have to endure shootings and gangsterism. “But we get there.” Daniels said when the club competes at competitions no one will know that they hardly have equipment or practice due to the circumstances. “We might not have equipment, but we do the best that we can,” she said. According to Daniels they always make a plan no matter what. “We beg and we borrow. If we don’t do it, the children will turn to gangsterism, loitering or prostitution,” she said.
She said it’s all about what they are doing for the community in the community. “It’s about keeping the children off the streets by doing gymnastics.”
She said gymnastics can make a difference in the community. “If we give up, there will be nothing left for the children. I must keep it alive. I’m too scared to give up on them. I’m almost 65 but what’s going to happen to the kids?”
She said she wants to keep gymnastics going but they can’t do it alone and need the assistance of the community. The club will be competing in the South African Games on Thursday 26 September at the University of Cape Town.
The gymnasts have also been invited to perform at the Baxter Theatre in October. “We will be exposing them to the Baxter Theatre, some children have never been outside of Mitchell’s Plain but now they can perform at the Baxter,” she said.
She also said the schools in the area assist with donations but the club still needs gym mats, costumes, gym equipment, rhythmic balls and any other donations.