Stories to Inspire – Celebrating Barbara

Apr 5, 2022 | Teacher's Corner

The Sybrand Park Fitness League class meets in the church hall of Christ Church in Elgin Rd. We’re a small but determined group and we have kept going either live or with recorded classes depending on lockdown levels. Covid was not going to get us down.

Celebrating Barbara

Taking centre-stage each week is our local hero Barbs. Barbs has beaten cancer three times enduring radical surgery and hectic chemotherapy. She is also legally blind. She stands directly in front of me as I teach and listens carefully as I yell instructions. We started with private lessons, then she joined the Seniors Class and now she participates fully in our general fitness classes.  We do a lot of laughing and things do sometimes go wrong, but the other ladies graciously make way for Barbs as she cha-cha’s too close to them. Having a legally blind person in class is an excellent challenge for a teacher. It means that verbal cues have to be timeous and accurate. If my words don’t work, there is always someone else willing to give input.


Fitness League classes have helped Barbs regain strength and flexibility. The range of movement in her shoulders was compromised by surgery, but she is now able to reach up and touch the sky. Barbs is an avid gardener, gardening by touch and memory – she says her back copes so much better these days as her core is so much stronger.

But the best things about Barbs are her wonderful sense of humour, her strong faith and her determination to try.


Here’s a picture of Barbs pretending that she can plank and bicep curl for 30 seconds.

Celebrating Barbara

(Andy Frieslaar)