All Natural, All Champion: UWC’ s Onke Mangxola bodybuilder in National Natural Bodybuilding Competition
Onke Mangxola, a final-year UWC Social Work student, recently came first in his division of the Western Cape Natural Bodybuilding Championship, and as a result, is set to participate in the SA National Championship on 30 September 2017.
The WP Natural Bodybuilding Union and competition “promotes natural bodybuilding without substances” - they test all participants, and retest the winners, and believe in building strength and fitness through hard work and discipline.
Onke has always been an active person – he currently works at the gym on campus as an instructor and a personal trainer. When he first heard about the sport of bodybuilding, he was very interested.
“Training is like an art,” he explains, “and the whole process of building one’s body is fascinating - and very enjoyable.”
His first encounter with competitive bodybuilding was in 2015 at the Western Province Cape Peninsula Championships, where he placed second in the junior category. He later entered another competition, Ironman Classics, where he won yet again, only this time he came in first place - in the under 21 junior division as well as in the overall junior division.
Although the wins enabled Onke to compete with seniors, he felt he needed to take a break, and in early 2016 he took a year off from bodybuilding to focus on his academics, as well as to explore new hobbies.
During the break, Onke received multiple opportunities for exploration, one of which was being a member of the supporting cast in Of Kings and Prophets, a series based on the Biblical Books of Samuel and shot in Calvinia - where he worked hand-in-hand with the best stunt team in South Africa. He also had an opportunity to be featured in the series Troy and Blood Drive, where he met his role model, Martyn Ford.
Of course, as much as he was enjoying these new opportunities, he devoted much of his time to his academics.
“Social work is extremely important to me,” he says. “I want to learn how to help those in need.”
In early 2017, Onke returned to training, and became active in bodybuilding competitions - and continued to enjoy it thoroughly.
Onke sees a lot of interest in bodybuilding at the UWC Gym, and believes that there are many other students who are interested in the sport. He encourages the UWC Sports Council to support these students by recognizing Bodybuilding as a sport.
“Bodybuilding has a lot to offer students,” he says. “It promotes discipline, and a healthy body goes hand-in-hand with a healthy mind.”
Onke doesn’t know exactly what the future holds, but he’s not suffering from a lack of choice - between the Social Work degree, the personal trainer qualification which he plans on getting, and being a stunt actor, he is sure that whatever he chooses will make him happy.
“I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to my bodybuilding journey; I have so many people who have laid a good foundation for me in this sport, and helped me achieve success.”
There will be an upcoming bodybuilding competition hosted by the UWC Gym in October 2017. The aim of this competition, Onke shares, is to show the students the purpose of this sport and to motivate them to take pride in - and good care of - their bodies.
The Council is currently advocating for Onke’s recognition and support from the University, with the hopes of getting bodybuilding registered as one of the official sporting codes, as it was in the past.