When the 73-year-old Justice Peteke of Riverpark in
Alexandra decided to join a group of grannies in an exercise programme, he did
it in an effort to improve his quality of life.
Fruit and vegetables
“Before joining this
fitness club, I could not walk. My joints were very stiff and my blood pressure
was very high. I’m happy today, I can enjoy life again,” he said proudly.
He said nurses at his local clinic had noticed his improved
health and had asked him about it.
“I simply told them ‘I decided to lead an active lifestyle’,”
Read: Active lifestyle boosts brain structure
Every weekday morning about 20 elderly citizens from
Riverpark in Alexandra join up for a 5km walk, alternating it with an hour of
exercising at a nearby park.
They do this under a non-profit organisation called Hope
Giving which is run by 53-year-old Kedibone Sukazi, an openly HIV positive
Sukazi said besides running the fitness club for oldies, she
also gives them fruit and vegetables she receives as donations from one of the
big retail stores in Johannesburg. She
believes a healthy body is not complete without a healthy meal.
Men have too much pride
“When I look back to 2014 when I started this organisation,
I’m happy that I managed to save lives. Riverpark is full of teenage pregnancies
and alcohol abuse which all add up to burdens on the grandparents in the end,”
Most senior citizens at the club say they suffer from
various chronic illnesses ranging from strokes and diabetes to arthritis and high
blood pressure. The success of their involvement in the daily exercise
programme is evidenced by reduced clinic visits.
Read: Exercise key to a healthy heart
“I remember at some point I could not walk without making
brief stops before I reach my destination. Today I walk non-stop until I get
where I want to be,” said one of the grannies, 65-year-old Kgomotso Malapane,
who joined the club last year.
Explaining why he is the only man at the fitness club,
Peteke said: “I tried to invite other men to join. They refused. Some men have
too much pride. They think admitting to their pain is a sign of weakness.”