What started humbly with a handful of participants has now turned into a joyous and daily hobby for the residents of Tsumeb, with the 6mo9 fitness group facilitating a fitness workout.
As you enter the garden town of Tsumeb in the late hours during weekdays you will be welcomed by a group of men and women exercising tirelessly free of charge. The group was established last year by a young retired footballer, Ricardo Witbeen, who would not let his soccer-exercising skills go to waste. He thus started an academy which would inculcate a healthy living style among the locals. This has now grown from a tiny squad of friends to a larger group accommodates all locals irrespective of age. And it is no longer confined to this town but has branched out to Windhoek, Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo and Oshikango.
Last weekend all branches gathered at the coastal town of Swakopmund for a get together retreat to share ideas and skills. “We roughly started with 15 people last year, and as time went by, people started knowing about the group and it became bigger up to this moment. Although during winter the number subsides because of the cold season as we operate in the open” says Witbeen, the group’s coach.
He adds that there are prospects of acquiring an erven where a training centre will be setup. After they will then consider implementing a fee just to maintain the building and cover for operational costs. Amazingly few of the trainers were involved in any sports activity before the group was formed with those who did occasionally so and minimal. One of the elderly trainees, Marion Basson, says the group has immensely helped her in keeping her body in a healthy state because she was not a regular trainer, and when she did it was not seriousness. “At least things are coordinated and [at] this stage I can proudly say am fit and can train the entire day, so that is how beneficial it has been” says Basson indicating that this has also helped her in reducing stress.
Calvin Hansen who suffered from hypertension and only managed the battle through the 6mo9 fitness group, despite that he plays football, affirms. “It has been beneficial since day one. I managed to maintain my blood pressure by exercising everyday. In terms of soccer it has really enhanced my speed because we do a lot of running and thus no fatigue and cramps when am in the field, thus this has been an extreme mile for me,” says Hansen. He urges those that haven’t joined yet to do so, as this will help a lot of young people to stay of the streets and shebeens, and in the same vein living a healthy lifestyle.