Imtiaz Desai is the owner of CrossFit Jozi in Johannesburg, South Africa, but his CrossFit roots started in New Zealand when he was there for graduate school. When he returned to Johannesburg, he decided to open CrossFit Jozi.
“We opened in a small facility,” Desai says. “Within a year and a few months, we completely outgrew the space, had to cap our membership and managed to find this space. Over the last, probably, two years, the growth has just been crazy. It’s awesome.”
Jozi’s large, diverse membership united to form the biggest Open team in Africa, and box member Tamarr Schroeder says she loves the camaraderie at the gym.
“CrossFit Jozi is just a really strong community,” Schroeder says. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from the local members and the coaches—our coaches have been really awesome.”
In fact, one member and coach in training, Zakhere Ntlanga, runs 50 minutes to and from the gym to train and coach.
“This is everything to me,” Ntlanga says of CrossFit.
Desai concludes: “This facility wouldn’t be what it is without the people.”
Video by Mike Koslap.
Additional reading: “Learning About Hope” by Chris Cooper, published Oct. 13, 2013.