These South African Grandmothers Chose Boxing Over Knitting
Around the world, retirement is often considered a time to slow down. Stereotypically, retirees take up low-key activities like golfing, knitting, and gardening.
But one gym in South Africa is looking to change attitudes about aging with an aggressive training program designed specifically for older women.
The Boxing Gogos program in Cosmo City, South Africa is open exclusively to senior women who come to the A Team Gym to learn how to box.
The “boxing grannies” of Cosmo City are all at least 60 years old. And for 90 minutes, twice a week, they come to the gym to throw mean punches.
When they aren’t practicing hooks and jabs, these women are training with medicine balls and completing strength-building exercises. Then they get in the ring and spar.
Some of the women in the club suffer from health problems. They may show up with walking sticks or complaining of asthma and diabetes, but they’re still able to complete their training and feel stronger after a boxing session.
The program was created in 2013 to enable older women to defend themselves while staying healthy. It has since become so popular, the gym is planning to expand to other locations.
The boxing grannies' coach, 40-year-old Claude Maphosa, told Al Jazeera that the women who come gain strength, flexibility, and confidence. “The more they do it, they feel more confident," Maphosa said.
"They feel more energetic. They feel more alive. It’s more or less a spiritual thing.”