Windhoek-One of the most popular means of keeping fit in the capital of ‘Cattle Country’, Gobabis, is jogging.
But this means of exercising is considered hazardous given Namibia’s rogue drivers with Gobabis no exception to this countrywide menace.
Lately the country has been inundated with the sad news of people being run over by cars while either jogging or in the course of their normal errands, among them famous cyclists engaging in their favourite pastime and in the process keeping fit and healthy.
News from far afield as West Africa, in Sierra Leone, has it that the police have issued a notice banning jogging in the streets without authorisation.
The notice, signed by the police chief Francis Alieu Munu and issued last Thursday, said the ban was in accordance with the constitutional considerations of public order and safety.
The police said they instituted the ban after observing the nuisance caused by joggers who hit the streets in large numbers.
“… raining insults, obstructing traffic, pounding on vehicles, playing loud music, and snatching property from other members of the public peacefully going about their own personal affairs,” were among the reasons cited in the directive.
Any group of persons now found jogging in the streets without authorisation will be dealt with according to the law.
The police in Gobabis where jogging is also popular, although not the only means of maintaining fitness, may not have to resort to such drastic measures thanks to the BT Health and Fitness Centre which opened its doors last Saturday.
An initiative of young business entrepreneur, Blackie Tjingaete, the centre is the first of its kind in the Omaheke region.
Certainly it must be blessing for Cattle Country, especially its avowed meat eaters to shed off that meaty ounce and burn that meaty fat.
“I am a business person trying to think out of the box given the few to non-existent opportunities in the area.
“Seeing that there was no gym in Gobabis, and the rising medical expenses, I thought a gym would bring a new paradigm shift to Gobabis,” Tjingaete says as he retraces the idea for the gym.
In addition to improving the fitness and health of the town’s residents, and the greater Omaheke region, he thought it might also turn out to be a golden business opportunity/
Particularly, given the lack of a similar facility in the town, and risks attached to jogging in the streets.
This also fits in well with the trend of changing people’s mindsets towards living healthier lifestyles.
“Uniting people in a social gathering is the beginning of removing tribalism, because it is a facility for everyone that will not discriminate against anyone,” Tjingaete says.
He envisions that the fitness facility will become a melting pot for the various cultures of Omaheke.
Gobabis’ could still be considered archaic in its approach to business, because one cultural group still dominates the business sector despite the majority of its residents being the indigenous Namibians.
Part of that paradigm shift is for indigenous people like him to enter the business world.
The building currently hosting the KFC in the town belongs to Tjingaete, and now also houses the fitness centre in the town’s Church Street.
He says that having the KFC franchise in the town has already put Gobabis on the international map.
As a former footballer, he could not see his own body becoming rusty, with the accompanying poor health this would have meant.
But the options for him and other sportspeople who have retired to keep their bodies in shape were few and far in between in the town.
As much as the centre should come in handy for the meat-loving populace of the town and the region, Tjingaete thinks that discipline is the watchword and they should be aware that once they start exercising it will greatly enhance their health and fitness.
The centre is open to all members of the public and even learners above the age of 16 with membership options of either six or 12 months at N$450 a month for six months, and N$350 a month for 12 months.
Pensioners pay N$50 a month while membership fees for learners 16 years and above is N$250 a month for six months and N$200 a month for 12 months.
Learners can only become members with the approval of their parents who must sign on behalf of their children. Non-members pay N$100 a day.
To apply for membership a person needs to present an ID, banking details, two passport photos and pay an N$100 registration.
Members who are affiliated to Namibia Medical Care (NMC), BankMed, NHP and Renaissance Prosperity Health must show membership of their health insurance to be able to claim a rebate from these health insurers. In due course an online registering facility will become available.
Gym facilities include a gym circuit section, treadmills, spinning bikes, Ab coaster, stair climber and recumbent bikes, while the weight section has upright benches, weights, barbells and cattle bells.
The Cardio Section has an inner and outer abductor, multi jungle, squatting machine, personal training room; yoga mats, skipping ropes and fitness balls.
The centre is also equipped with a massage room with a full body massage available as well as back and neck and foot massage machine.
It boasts state of the art sauna where one can sit and enjoy music on a built-in sound systems while also enjoying a steaming session.
Instructors and personal trainers are available at the client’s request.
Fitness instructors show clients how to use the equipment to avoid injuries, etc., while personal trainers help clients who may need special training for their specific requirements, for example yoga and ballet.
There are three Wi-Fi access points at the gym, a bistro to socialise in with healthy drinks such as juice and energy drink like PowerAde, coffee, and water.
The launch of a BT clothing line is also in the pipeline targeting gym wear for Namibia and the world beyond as long the world digs the Namibian quality.