It’s all about getting off the couch, taking control of your health and making new friends in the process. These were the thoughts of Bfit Bo-Kaap founder Anees Gamiet.
Mr Gamiet, a resident of Bo-Kaap, has always had a passion for helping others get fit. The community initiative was started at the end of October and already sees more than 100 people taking part in the runs. There are people who run or walk. And it’s not about distance, but about walking or running for a certain period of time. It is for runners and walkers of all fitness levels and free for members of the community.
Mr Gamiet said the purpose of establishing the club was to promote health and fitness among the residents. “We want to encourage and support healthy lifestyles. We feel that there are many sport activities that are competitive and already have a squad. Running offers an opportunity where you can have people of all ages and genders participating.”
Mr Gamiet began running about five years ago and has taken part in a few 21km half marathons and ultra marathons. “I never knew I could run 56 km until I did it,” said the 32-year-old. “I spoke to my wife and brother in-law about starting something in the community. We have started this initiative now and we have the support of the people. I am a fitness fanatic and now I am trying to transfer my skills to the community.”
He said more than 50 percent of deaths in the Western Cape were linked to cardiovascular disease.
He hopes to use his background as a health and wellness practitioner to benefit his community, and pointed out that the more unhealthy people were, the less productive they were likely to be.
“We need to create platforms for people who want to get fit and healthy but don’t know where to start. We want to offer assistance for people to eat better and live better.”
Mr Gamiet said it was all about being physically, mentally and spiritually well. “One of the good things about running is that people care about one another.”
He added that when the initiative started, they had nine people taking part. Last Monday, there were more than 80 people. “We have about 160 people who are participating on a regular basis and about 40 youth taking part in activities for kids.”
He said the motto of the club was all about getting fit, having fun and making friends. “We want to enhance social relationships between people and provide alternatives for youth with different activities.
“We feel that this is about Bo-Kaap. There is no structured programme for seniors and this initiative offers that opportunity. Another good thing about the initiative is that we have families coming. We have to ensure that youngsters get the information about getting healthy from an early age.”
He added that about 80 percent of the group’s members were women and that one of their aims was to get more men involved.
He said there was also a plan to host first aid courses and healthy cooking classes in the future. They are also hosting eight-week workshops with children to teach them about things like peer pressure and bullying.
“We need to ensure that they are supported with education and that’s why we also host maths and science classes.
“The programme is not about me; it’s about Bo-Kaap, it is about upskilling our people. Bo-Kaap is faced with major challenges. In the times of gentrification and development there is a lot of worry. This is an initiative where people can focus their energy on something positive.
“People are more stressed and worried, we can start owning Bo-Kaap again.”
Mr Gamiet said he was very grateful to the WECTEC Recreational Centre for providing them with a venue at no cost. He added that the club had held a positive meeting with Western Province Athletics last week at which they had presented a proposal about Bo-Kaap athletics. He said being part of the provincial body would give the club more credibility.
For more information about the organisation and how to get involved, you can contact the founder, Mr Gamiet, on 0829944011 or email at email@example.com