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ew peo­ple care more about the health of South Africans than dancer, singer, chore­og­ra­pher, busi­ness­woman and ac­tress Khabonina Qubeka. On the morn­ing I meet her, she is host­ing her fourth an­nual Dance to Fit­ness Ind­aba Break­fast at the Bel Air Shop­ping Cen­tre in North Rid­ing, where women of all ages and fit­ness lev­els have been in­vited to come and dance their way to health.

She says: “I want to host a Dance For Fit­ness in ev­ery city, and do it in the month of Au­gust for women all over the coun­try.” Qubeka says she loves host­ing dance and fit­ness events for all peo­ple, but in par­tic­u­lar women: “It’s al­ways so nice to see women mov­ing and en­joy­ing them­selves. Be­cause when we dance, we are do­ing what we are born to do.” For Qubeka, fit­ness is more than just about gym – she is big on just get­ting peo­ple to move.

“Peo­ple are al­ways sur­prised when they meet me and find I am not a big gym bunny. Be­cause my thing is move­ment, not just ex­er­cise.”

Ear­lier this year, she re­leased a new song with a funky ex­er­cise video called Shake Your Booty, which chal­lenged men and women to get mov­ing. The run­ner, yogi and dancer says: “Be­ing healthy and fit is never about how big you are. Our bod­ies were meant to move, and we get un­fit and un­healthy be­cause we stop mov­ing and stop look­ing af­ter our­selves. Your body is your big­gest pro­ject, and it’s all your own do­ing. And what makes me sad is that so many of our ill­nesses and ail­ments are lifestyle re­lated: di­a­betes, hy­per­ten­sion, high blood pres­sure, all of these things are pre­ventable, but they are killing our peo­ple.”

Qubeka says that there are three main rea­sons South Africans are so un­healthy. “The first is that health and well­ness has been thought to be less im­por­tant than other press­ing con­cerns. Other parts of the world have recog­nised the im­por­tance of health and well­ness for a so­ci­ety, and have made it a pri­or­ity. How­ever, here, look­ing af­ter your body is still seen as a lux­ury, or only for aboNgamla [white peo­ple] who can af­ford to worry about those things. That has a lot to do with how health and fit­ness has been mar­keted.

“Se­condly, ex­er­cis­ing is sold as be­ing pos­si­ble only through a gym, and with wear­ing fancy clothes, and for cer­tain body types.

“Which brings me to the third rea­son we are so un­healthy: healthy food is po­si­tioned as ‘lar­ney’, and some­thing you need money to af­ford. We grow up think­ing healthy foods are things many of us can’t af­ford. But also, more than that, we take in a lot of sugar and salt, of­ten with­out re­al­is­ing it. How many of us grew up eat­ing but­ter­nut with but­ter




Khabonina says we shouldn’t be build­ing sum­mer bod­ies; we should be main­tain­ing them GET MOV­ING Khabonina says fit­ness is not just about go­ing to the gym

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