I know a man who reminds me of an angel. Only this angel has a HUGE set of muscles instead of wings.
His name is Joe Black. And no, he does not look like Brad Pitt from Meet Joe Black the movie. But he is black and he is my first real “black” friend. Not that colour makes any difference at all, but in my case it is relevant.
What you have to understand is that I come from a very Afrikaans right wing family. My mother used to keep a cup, plate, knife, fork and spoon under the kitchen sink for our domestic worker. I always used to cringe with embarrassment that she did not want our crockery and cutlery to be mixed up with our lovely lady’s. And many a time she used to throw away (with contempt and disgust) hair brushes because she found a single curly hair on them.
So Joe Black (this is his stage name as he is a body builder and personal trainer) started training me a couple of years ago so that I could lose all the weight I had gained from IVF treatments and from my pregnancy.
And I was privileged to get to know a gentle, softly spoken, intelligent side of him that you would never guess existed under all those tons of muscles.
He explained to me his passion for “sculpting the human body”. And suddenly he opened my eyes to a world of training and competitive body building that I had no idea even existed. Where I thought this sport was rife with steroids and growth hormones and creatine – he showed me a healthy, more softer side to it.
A side that includes eating correctly, drinking lots of water and vitamins and supplements and training – all in moderation and combining everything together to create a sexy, toned, attractive body. Gone was my perception of “if you lift heavy weights you will start to build muscle”.
I learned that here in Cape Town, especially the Western Cape, a huge percentage of body builders are black or coloured and that this form of sport is a blessing in disguise for gang infested areas of the townships and informal settlements. These young men get involved with training from a young age and become top athletes that represent South Africa internationally.
So two years on, I still encounter aggressive, moody body builders (that puff out like one of those swollen frogs) in the gym. But I ignore them because they are just a minority of the amazing body building athletes that do South Africa proud.
Please click on the link below. It is a tribute to Joe Koffman, my trainer, who continues to inspire and make a difference in so many lives every day. Written and Directed by Morgan, my 21 year-old son.
I hope it will change your perception of body building forever.