Boxing to boost health and fitness in Makhaza

A non-governmental organisation is bringing the big ring to Makhaza.

In its effort to promote health and fitness in the townships, Yabonga Children’s Project launched a boxing gym on Saturday June 15.

Founder and director Ulpha Roberts said ever since its inception, Yabonga has aimed to adapt its programmes to the needs of the community.

She said with a clear focus on families infected and affected by HIV/Aids, it built strong relationships with communities, clinics, schools, NGOs and individuals to build a sustainable support base.

The boxing gym is in the heart of Khayelitsha where groups of young people will be able to walk to with no hassle.

There will be group boxing classes taught in the new space, with a combination of boxing and strength and conditioning classes.

“Last year we celebrated 20 years where we developed a lot of children through sport.

“But in 2010 we asked our young people about their interests.

“Soccer was on our minds. But we realised we need a total development of the children.

Young people wanted boxing. But we viewed boxing as a physical sport and we were reluctant.

But again we found out that disciplined sportsmen were nurtured through the sport of boxing. The gym has been in the pipeline for the past three years. We are happy that it is now in operation,” she said.

Young boxer Zusakhe Makeleni, 19, said she started boxing at her primary school as a form of self defence.

“We will benefit a lot here. I love boxing.

It has taught me a lot of things. Now that it is here, surely many will come and learn,” she told Vukani.

Another young aspiring boxer Mihlali Hlazeka said she only started boxing this year.

She said the gym is the start of good things to come for young people of Khayelitsha especially in Makhaza.

“I am grateful to those who decided that we need such a facility. I think girls in particular should come train and learn self defence.

“But it could turn out to be a career for some. I am happy I will train near home,” she said.

Ms Roberts added that the area was also undergoing major development to create an integrated recreational facility.

This included the construction of netball and tennis courts, and a small Astro turf for soccer.

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