It is not a common sight to see children in South Africa’s townships participating in a
weightlifting sport. However, these teenagers are going against the grain and lifting heavy metal
as a form of discipline and fitness.
One of the coaches, Lesego Mogotsi, says the inspiration behind establishing the gym was to keep the children out of trouble.
“I would say that like most sports, they think it is a white person’s sport and which is not. Every
sport is for everyone and that’s why we started it. We noticed that most people thought it was a
‘rich person’s sport so we brought it here because the fundamentals, discipline and the hardwork
that is of a weightlifter. So, we said why don’t we apply this in Soweto. It has been nothing but
hardwork for the coaches and athletes.”
18 year old weightlifter khanyisile Motsoamere says while the sport is dominated by men, her passion is driven by how much her self esteem has grown since she started 6 months ago.
“For me, it has been a lovely sport. I fell in love with it and I am confident. I’m happy it brings out
my confidence. I’ve been watching videos of it. I know it’s meant for men so I thought maybe I
should look on the internet to find a lady. I saw it and fell in love with it.”
Outside of weightlifting, the gym owners say their next project is to build a community center
out of shipping containers with a strong emphasis on academic development in Soweto.