Injuries can’t kill his love for sport
Ledwaba redirects his soccer dream into gym
His star was on the rise until a knee injury halted his soccer ambitions years ago. Sakie Ledwaba, who started playing soccer professionally at the age of 23, proudly shows the 15cm scar on his knee.
“I played for [Orlando] Pirates with ‘Killer’ Mkhwanazi,” he says. “During a soccer match my knee was stepped on and had to go for an operation and wore a plaster for nine months.”
“After my knee [injury] I decided to start running. I started running seriously in 2011 and have since completed the Comrades [Marathon] twice, but last time I ran I got a knee injury in Durban.”
Ledwaba now owns a gym, Trimwise, in Mzimhlope, Soweto. “We cater for disadvantaged communities and train pensioners and crèche children. Our membership fee is R100. We also have ordinary community members coming into gym.”
“My duties include coaching, advising on a training and diet plans and administration. Because we have such limited resources I (also) fix and maintain the equipment myself,” he says.
Ledwaba says his lowest moment was when he only had 30 members at his gym. “Our biggest challenge is that people are not consistent (with keeping their membership) which affects our numbers and [income],” he adds. But now Ledwaba is confident he is on the right path with more than 150 members signed to the gym.
He beams when he speaks about his favourite part of the job. “I thoroughly en- joy training the pensioners. They are so committed, even when it rains they walk in with their umbrellas. They talk about how gym has improved their ailments.”
Ledwaba reveals that he did not finish his theology degree because of his politics. “I went to Lesotho to study but was dismissed because of my political activism. I wanted to be a pastor in order to use that door to advance our political agenda, but that did not go far,” he laughs.
The 57-year-old says Trimwise has two permanent volunteers who act as personal trainers.
Sakie Ledwaba has opened a gym which has been running for 9 years.