12 South African Heroes To Motivate You For The Rest Of The Year

12 local heroes that we're looking forward to watching in 2019.


Thaaqib Daniels |

With 2019 in full swing, and New Year’s resolutions becoming a bit more difficult to maintain, we’ve compiled a list of South African men who have achieved greatness in the past year. They are proof that hard work pays off and that not giving up will ultimately result in success. Here are 12 local heroes that will motivate you in 2019.

The Front Runners – Akani Simbine & Henricho Bruintjies

Early last year, athletes Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies put on a stunning performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. Simbine claimed the gold medal in the men’s 100m sprint with Bruintjies coming in close second, putting SA on the podium. We look forward to seeing what these two speedsters can accomplish in 2019.

Related: Try This 9-Move Workout Inspired By SA’s Fittest Athletes and Celebs

Back On Board

“There’s no-one you can rely on to take you to the goalpost but yourself. To progress, I always push myself to a barrier point, and then past that.” – Jean-Marc Johannes

Few push as hard as Jean-Marc Johannes (@jeanmarcskate). The multi-medal-winning skateboarder added a Guinness World Record to his name in 2018 and then broke his own record early this year! And he is set to represent South Africa in the 2020 Olympic games as a pro skateboarder.

“You need to have endurance, strength, agility and explosiveness to be able to perform at your best, consistently.” – Adin Masencamp.

He’s been training since the age of nine to be a pro surfer and take on the biggest waves that the ocean has to offer. Last year, all of Adin’s hard work paid off when he won the 2018 World Surf League Africa Qualifying Series Men’s Championship – making him the top surfer on the continent, basically.

Related: The Three Moves That Will Get You Ready To Surf Like A Pro

The Change Makers

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Dave Watkeys is an online fitness coach with a qualification in Exercise Sciences who specializes in body transformations. After changing his own lifestyle and physique for the better (and fitter), he dedicates his Instagram feed to his clients – showing the impressive progress that they are making. We’re excited to see him continue his inspiring work in 2019.

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The Zulutransformerz are a group of men and women who host pop up gym sessions around KZN, using a mix of bodyweight exercise and calisthenics to help people improve their fitness. The group consists of some familiar faces such as Mnqobi Kunene, who was a finalist in our 2018 Cover Guy competition and Musa Langa, whose transformation was featured in our magazine.

Related: How Musa Langa Lost 30kgs And Started His Own Training Programme

The Heavy Lifters

In 2018, Sibusiso Kotelo (left) became the youngest IFBB professional bodybuilder in South Africa by earning his IFBB Pro Card at the age of 26. “The Kid Prodigy” is definitely a man to watch out for in 2019. Crossfit athlete Alan Foulis (right) took home all the glory at last year’s Fittest In Cape Town competition, earning himself a competitor’s spot at the Crossfit Games. He’s also featured as our Man Of Action in our February magazine. The 2019 FICT contest is currently underway and we’re amped to see if Allan can pull off the win again. You don’t want to miss out on the action.

Lights, Camera, Action!

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Remember when a lifeguard and a doctor became presenters on Top Billing?

Ryle de Morny and Fez Mkhize took part in the annual SABC3 Presenter Search, where they excelled and claimed their place as two of SA television’s newest personalities. Their on-screen presence may be getting all the limelight but both of these gents hold their own when it comes to style and fitness. We enjoy seeing two of our role models make it big on the small screen, and we’re sure 2019 has great things in store for them.

Related: Presenter Search Winner Ryle De Morny’s Secrets To Speed, Strength And Success

The Ring Masters

(Photo by Roarke Bouffe/EFC Worldwide)

“I don’t have any fear going into the ring. That fear doesn’t exist to me.” – Nkazimulo Zulu, EFC Flyweight Champion

Nkazimulo Zulu is the current EFC Flyweight Champion and doesn’t look like he’ll be stopped anytime soon, he successfully defended his title last year against Cape Town submission specialist Gary Joshua. He has a hunger for hanging on to the gold and is a force when he enters the ring. No doubt he’ll take that fighting spirit into 2019. “Different day. Different fight. Same objective : win.” Check out our interview we had with him before he defended his title.

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What’s better than one title? Two. Dricus du Plessis is currently the holder of both the EFC Middleweight and Welterweight championships belts. With challengers lining up to take his titles from him, we’re excited to see him wage war on those who wish to contend.

Related: Earn Your Muscle The Hard Way With This MMA Workout

Honourable Mention: Mzwandile Hlongwa – KO Of The Year

We hope these local heroes have inspired you to take on 2019 with confidence, resilience and perseverance. For more motivational stories and life advice, be sure to subscribe to our magazine where we feature authentic South African men who are doing great things and reveal their secrets to help our readers become better men.

Related: Meet Loyiso Mkize, The Creator Of SA’s Own Comic Superhero

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