Pretoria’s Big Walk to a healthy lifestyle

Pretoria – Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula says he is happy that more elderly citizens participated in the Big Walk this year to mitigate the increase of undesirable diseases.

“It is really good to see our elderly citizens participating in this event… such activities can help them keep healthy,” said Minister Mbalula.

Minister Mbalula was speaking to SAnews on Sunday, during the Big Walk recreational event held by the Department of Sports and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) in Pretoria.

“It is also good to see thousands of young people participating in such events and enjoying themselves,” the Minister said.

The Minister said the Big Walk initiative is growing well nationally, and it happened in all nine provinces of South Africa.

“We must do this regularly and get communities out there to participate in such activities because in that way we are contributing to longevity of live,” he said.

Minister Mbalula, who took part in a 7.5 kilometres walk in the morning, said he also participated in another walk a day before.

“The walk was awesome. Yesterday I finished five kilometres at the OR Tambo Liberation Walk and today it was the 7.5 kilometres. This is good, nobody can touch you… healthy lifestyle in action,” he said.

The event took place on World Walking Day, 5 October, at the Fountains Valley Resort, Tshwane. It was organised for everyone and promoted the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.

There was also a two km walk for children and five, ten and 15 kilometres walks for adults.

Sarafina Mathebula, 67, of Daveyton was still trying to catch her breath when SAnews spoke to her after finishing a 7.5 kilometre walk.

She only started participating in this sport activity last year where she finished a five kilometres walk.

“I do this because I want my body to stay strong and healthy. I will do it every time if I have to,” she said.

Mathebula said in her community there is a lady who gathered elderly women and trained them on various sporting codes.

“Exercising is not foreign to me… I have been a member of a team of elderly citizens who exercise in my community for three years now,” she said.

Mathebula encouraged other elderly persons to exercise, saying it will help them manage their chronic diseases like hypertension and sugar diabetes.

“… Even when your body was weak and always in pain, everything becomes alright when you exercise,” said Mathebula, who is a pensioner.

Her accomplice, Josephine Moloi, 56, took two taxis from Mamelodi East in Pretoria to the venue.

Finishing the ten kilometres walk, Moloi said it was easy for her because she normally walks long distance or go jogging once in a while.

She also started participating in walks last year and the Big Walk was her third.

“I finished a five kilometres run in August, so this was not difficult at all compared to the last time,” she said.

“I’d encourage young people to get used to exercising and participating in sports because it will keep them away from chronic diseases. Many people my age are suffering from all sorts of diseases, but I don’t have any, I am very healthy,” said Moloi, who works as a Housekeeper at Umalusi.

Amongst thousands of youth who participated in activities of the day was Zenzele Mnyandu from Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

Mnyandu, who is a member of an aerobics team in his area, said it was important for him to stay active in sports.

“Back in my school days I was an athlete, but it became difficult for me to maintain the athlete spirit when I started my job, hence I decided to join the aerobics team four months ago,” said Mnyandu, who works as a teacher at Progressive Preparatory School in Johannesburg.

The 24-year-old said young people who are not actively involved in sporting codes missed out on many things and could easily be trapped in criminal activities or get infected by diseases.

“Our government is trying so much to do many things for the benefit of our youth. This is also a nice platform for youngsters to socialise and network… they could come up with ways to benefit their communities and themselves, or even think of ways to create jobs through sports,” he said. –

About Alan

My ethos is espoused in the words of Nelson Mandela: “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society. If need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

You will always find me standing on the side of the underdog OR HERE.