You don’t have to be rich to be healthy


Winter holds the sun below the horizon. A brisk wind sweeps through Zwide, blasting between the dwellings of Port Elizabeth’s largest township and threatening to stir its sleeping inhabitants. Freezing air seeps through the gaps between walls and doors, teasing at the edges of blankets. The empty bed of Luyolo Tandani stands as a rebuke to the spiteful gusts. Unperturbed by single-digit temperatures, the fitness instructor charges through the frost-covered streets, revving up a raging bonfire of energy within himself.

And the masses are about to follow. Because Zwide has found something worth getting up for: the love of fitness. Tandani started out as a lone warrior in the battle for healthy living. Until two of his friends, who noticed the positive effects of his active lifestyle, asked him to impart his wisdom to them. He offered to hold morning exercise classes, at first for just the pair. But word spread. Numbers grew. And now, thanks to the overflow of enthusiasm from Tandani, the group meeting on a township sports field six times a week is 100 strong.

South Africa is ranked as one of the most obese, unhealthy countries in the world, but it’s not always a matter of ignorance or a lack of motivation. Many people struggle to make healthy lifestyle choices because quality food, gym contracts and fitness expertise are prohibitively expensive. But Tandani is changing this in his community by guiding anyone who wants to take charge of her health. The passionate fitness fanatic has inspired the people of Zwide – and they keep coming back for more.