DURBAN - Pumping music, sweat and laughter fill up the square at uShaka Marine World on weekday evenings.
The Independent on Saturday joined Mabliza Lifestyle founder Zanele Maphumulo, 44, and fitness instructor Mpho Barnabas on Thursday evening for the free classes which are fast becoming a major attraction for Durban’s fitness conscious public.
Maphumulo said that in 2013 she weighed 125kg and her doctor warned her she would face a lifetime of chronic medication within six months if she did not make some major lifestyle changes.
“I felt as I’d been told I had six months to live. I felt constantly sick. And had all the lifestyle diseases in the world. I started doing research on good eating and that’s where my journey started.
“I was very much a shisa- nyama, bread-and-Coke type of person and used to hate vegetables. Now I eat a lot of vegetables and sugar and salt are out. I ended up losing 45kg.
“My initial focus was to start a small group of ladies so we could share our frustrations. Then I saw many people wanted to do this,” said Maphumulo.
In 2015 she started Mabliza Lifestyle to help others take on a healthy lifestyle, with her Facebook page soon racking up nearly 100 000 followers.
Last year she started her fitness classes out in the open at South Beach, which now includes aerobics, yoga and bootcamps, as well as organising Mabliza teams to enter fun walks and runs.
“It’s important to remember everybody is unique and we all have different body shapes. What suits one person may not suit another. You need to know your body shape and what you are looking for, knowledge is power,” she says.
Two months ago, she gave up her full-time job and started her own business. “It was a step of faith. We know 70% of South Africans are obese, so we are trying to fight obesity through lifestyle change.
“I thank uShaka Marine World for sponsoring the venue.”
Her videos are already being shared on Instagram and Facebook and this modern-day Jane Fonda has also produced a DVD, Get Fit with Mabliza.
Under the Durban sky, the class is assembled with Barnabas leading the warm-up. Maphumulo takes her place at the front, ready to sweat it out with her class and gives us the thumbs up.
“I feel awesome,” she says.