First Lady sheds kilos
Tobeka Madiba Zuma dropped six dress sizes in a year and is much healthier
One First Lady is a slender shadow of her former self. She says that when she saw TV images of herself looking enormous during her husband’s state of the nation address in 2013, she was shocked, and she decided to do something about her weight. A year after making that life-changing decision, she has dropped six dress sizes – from size 44 to 36. She has lost more than 30kg, and has kept it off. But it wasn’t an easy journey. “I had to be disciplined and stop eating some of the foods I like. I also had to commit to exercising at least three times a week,” she says.
Although Madiba Zuma voluntarily went on a weight-loss programme, she admits she would not have changed if her husband, President Jacob Zuma, had not opened her eyes.
“President Zuma was speaking about obesity during the state of the nation address, and he mentioned that some people are getting bigger and bigger every day.”
At that moment, she says, “the camera shifted to us [all four First Ladies] and images of us flashed on the screen. I saw how fat I looked and decided there and then to do something about it.”
With the help of a nutritionist, Madiba Zuma started following a healthy eating plan. She ate five small meals a day consisting mostly of vegetables and lean meat. She also exercised three times a week.
At a cancer-awareness event held in Sunninghill, Johannesburg, earlier this year, where she was a keynote speaker, Madiba Zuma looked fabulous. She was much slimmer and her skin was radiant.
Madiba Zuma is a patron of the Cancer Association of SA and founder of the Tobeka Madiba Zuma Foundation, which focuses on raising awareness about breast and cervical cancer.
She told her audience in Sunninghill that she could hardly advocate healthy living when she had been living an unhealthy life. “I have to be an example to South African women.” Since losing weight, she has also changed her wardrobe and is often seen wearing figure-hugging dresses similar to those often worn by US First Lady Michelle Obama.
Tobeka Madiba Zuma