The rise and rise of The Coastal Gym is a remarkable success story to come from Sea Vista. Enter Xolisilile Ngantweni.

St Francis Today: So, how did it all begin?

Xolisilile Ngantwein: I decided to start some gym training at home, so I began to do some gym work outside my house in Sea Vista. I didn’t have much equipment, but I started anyway. Two neighbours came over when I was training the next day and asked if I could join. So then there were three of us. Then, there were four of us, and we were training together.

So, growing all the time.

Yes, I took a photo of us, put it onto the St Francis Facebook Page, and asked for some help with some old equipment they might want to donate. They all started giving us some stuff, and then I found a shack in Sea Vista, a three-by-three, and we turned this into the gym with all the donated equipment.

That became the gym?

Yes, that was the new gym, and everyone came after work and trained in the gym. We grew to 16 people in one week.

After a while, Marcus Attinger came into the picture to see what Xolisisile was up to. He saw how the work was bettering the community and moved the gym into a small location in the Industrial Area next to Fresh.

After that, they moved into a new location, and Marcus got us some new equipment. At that stage, the gym membership was up to 30 people.

The membership just kept growing.

More than 50 people, girls and boys of all races, are training at this stage. We have 13 ladies who train here, and some kids train here. We have three 14-year-olds who train here. They don’t go drinking and do drugs; they come here to train, to lift weights, and they keep their minds strong, and then they go to sleep. No time for drink and drugs because they are working hard in the gym, and then they are tired.

Calibre also signed up their entire team of 20, with everyone getting a membership. “It has been an excellent experience for us, “said Paul Middleton from Calibre. “My guys love the gym. Some of them have lost so much weight and are so much fitter. It has worked out as a great investment for me as a business owner to make my staff healthier. It was worthwhile and a great motivator for my staff.”

Our favourite barman, Mike Grootboom from The Full Stop, is also keen on the Coastal Gym.

“I like the mental therapy that it gives, and it keeps me strong, less tired, always alert. I enjoy it.”

Mike hits the gym about 5 to 6 times a week.

“We are also doing a bit of running. Marcus, Xolisilile, and I have been getting a few km under the belt. We have been running about 10km weekly to add to the fitness.”

Does the gym work for you?

“The gym is close and convenient, and I like the times. I work different times here at Full Stop, and the Coastal Gym times suit someone like me who works after hours and stuff like that. I have always wanted to get involved with a gym, but we never had the right place.”

And it all comes in at R200 a month.

“Everyone pays the R200, and it is strictly business. I was very surprised at the low cost, but it’s good because the money doesn’t become a problem and doesn’t restrict entry.”

“It’s a community project,`” said the man behind it all, Marcus Attinger. He and his wife Judith recognised the value of what Xolisilise was doing with the Gym On The Hill and decided to support it fully.

“We saw what he was doing and realised immediately the value of this to the community. The fact that so many people came to the gym and started coming from the beginning shows that it was a much-needed space in the community. We’re just happy it works out so well for everyone.”

Marcus and Judith have a charity organisation grounded in Holland (https://www.funnyfarmouddorp.nl). The money generated from the charity supports §several programs, including Matt Davis and the St Francis Soccer Academy, as well as Xololilise and the Coastal Gym.

“The gym funding comes directly from the charity, and we think it is a worthy way of giving back to the community and empowering it.”

More about the Coastal Gym

website:

address:

1st Ave, Bayview 43 Industrial Area,

St Francis Bay

contact details:

Xolisilile Ngantweni

t. 0634809309

e. info@coastalgym.co.za