On the side of the N2 highway is a bright yellow container that serves as a beacon to the surrounding communities. The VuvuFit Shakashead Box is a literal gym-in-a-box, offering a sanctuary of fitness, fun, and wellbeing.
If you pop into the open-air Vuvu Fit container at any given time of day, you’ll find a hive of activity. It’s a cross-section of North Coast locals all enjoying the fitness facilities in a unique setting. A group of Shakashead youngsters egg each other on in a spontaneous weight-lifting competition, while a set of more seasoned gym-goers perform reps with dumbbells. A young mom stretches on a mat, gazing out at the open field in front of her, while VuvuFit proprietor Lucky Nhlanhla Ndlovu preps for a functional fitness class, scheduled to begin soon.
As far back as 2014, Craig Slevin and Lucky had a solid concept in mind. Their idea was to set-up a sustainable fitness model to benefit a community who couldn’t necessarily afford conventional gym fees, but that could also operate as a functioning business, while empowering individuals through mentorship – fitness as a vehicle for personal and societal growth.
They first met when Lucky came knocking on Craig’s door looking for financial assistance to compete in Italy in the Global Tae Kwan Do Federation’s competition, where he went on to be crowned the super heavyweight world champion. It was Lucky’s third title. Craig, a qualified CrossFit instructor, found resonance with Lucky’s story and the two connected instantly.
Lucky had grown up under adverse conditions, but found immense solace in his training, incorporating body building, karate, functional fitness and Tae Kwan Do into his repertoire. The challenge proved to be finding the right premises to begin their concept. It would take five more years to secure the right piece of land, and they launched VuvuFit to the public in March 2019 from their bright yellow container, flanked by the N2 highway on the eastern side and the railway line to the west.
Craig’s diverse family business, The Slev Group, incorporating farming, earth moving, property and construction, offered the necessary avenues to get the ball rolling, and acted as sponsors of the set-up. They wanted to bring something that would offer hope, promote unity across socio-economic and cultural divides, build individuals both physically and emotionally, and also offer measurable social impact.
“Their idea was to set-up a sustainable fitness model to benefit a community who couldn’t necessarily afford conventional gym fees, but that could also operate as a functioning business, while empowering individuals through mentorship.”
Craig invested in the first CrossFit Box in KZN, and had seen first-hand how effective the box concept could be to an individuals’ “psychology and biology”.
“While we are out delivering our best in service and product through our various businesses, we are always on the look-out for ways we can create a positive social impact in our communities at large,” explains Craig.
“Many of my family members and friends have benefited dramatically from training at functional fitness-style gyms,” he adds, mentioning “the strong sense of community, the confidence, the strength and the overall knock-on health benefits,” as key to this holistic concept.
Similarly, “VuvuFit not only aims to empower an entrepreneur with a profitable business but through the fitness lifestyle it models, it creates a natural knock-on impact in the community at large, building fitter, stronger and healthier communities.”
VuvuFit is open from 6am – 10pm. Anyone can just arrive and join as a member with nominal membership fees and drop-in rates. Even if you already belong to a gym, the space offers something unique. Enquire about regular functional fitness, and Tae Kwan Do classes.
PARTNER WITH VUVUFIT
As a registered non-profit organization VuvuFit can issue section 18A certificates. They are still looking for sponsors for the following:
- Siza water connection
- Weather blinds to protect workout area
- Basic change rooms with toilets and showers
- Office container to server as a training and counseling center
- Personal development training, coaching and mentoring. Any funds received here, will allow them to dedicate time to equipping the community to be the best they can be!
Shakashead is the first of many ‘gyms in a box’ bearing the VuvuFit trademark, with the aim to establish more of these in local communities. If you’re keen to sponsor visit vuvufit.co.za, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on Facebook @vuvufit