Internet search results for fitness are changing. For a long time the net was awash with white bodies as a representation for what fitness looks like. But over recent years, a more melanated image has been popping up. Joining the likes of dance trainers such as Khabonina Qubeka and Somizi “Somgaga” Mhlongo is Kelebogile Serokolo. The 21-year-old, originally from Potchefstroom, is doing her third year of international relations and media at the University of Witwatersrand. But her heart is in the fitness business. The bubbly, beautiful young lady’s history explains why this is so: “Fitness has got me through a lot, from depression to suicidal thoughts. Not only did I become physically strong but fitness made my mind strong too.”

She loves incorporating dance into her work-outs. “I’ve been a dancer most of my life and I’m in the process of launching a ‘Jaiva’ boot camp. It will incorporate modern house dances into fitness programmes – toning the body while having fun.” She has even done a “Gqom fitness” dance class with Zenzele gym on her campus.

She laughs when she tells me a story about vosho-ing in heels after doing leg day at the gym. “A friend of mine said we should go out. I told her I didn’t want to as my legs were sore – because you can be in shambles after leg day. Eventually I agreed; I was in heels and managed to vosho the whole night. I don’t know how many I did, but yeah, I’m always vosho-ing. The next day I got up and I was brand new – whereas normally I can’t even walk upstairs after leg day! I was feeling so great I wanted to take heels to the gym ... but I quashed that idea.”

Before and after

Since her schooldays Serokolo has always been involved in some kind of fitness regime.

“Though I didn’t go to gym while in school, I played netball. I was also a drum majorette in high school.”

She is all about strength and building a powerful body.

“In magazines you see that stereotype of a woman with a flat tummy and skinny thighs. That is what fitness looks like in magazines, I didn’t want that.”

Weight-lifting is what she likes. The idea grew on her after she joined her guy friends at gym in high school. After arriving at varsity she continued with gym and also provides her peers with workout challenges. She charges R200 for a 90-day challenge of mostly bodyweight exercises.