Eleanor Van Niekerk has a hectic schedule. As a flight attendant for South African Airways, she often finds herself on long overnight flights from Germany to Johannesburg, which can be exhausting. But one thing has always kept her moving forward: her passion for fitness.
Eleanor has been an aerobics instructor since 1997. But when she discovered Zumba® in 2010, her love of fitness intensified.
“Zumba fitness is the most fun way of all to keep fit,” she says.
A typical week would see Eleanor teaching 3 or so classes. It’s not uncommon to find her fresh off a 10 hour flight, heading straight to her makeshift studio overlooking a dam in the suburbs of Johannesburg, ready to inspire her students to shake, move, and sweat to the rhythms of her Zumba class.
Her dedication and commitment to her students is never-ending. Whether she’s motivating them with body analysis challenges, or choosing a surprise “MVP” student from one of her classes, her goal is to make fitness fun and to improve her students’ quality of life by helping them be content with their own bodies.
And her passion extends beyond the studio. Eleanor is avidly committed to acts of charity, from her devotion to ALPS which takes care of dogs in poor townships, to showing support for a fellow Zumba Instructor who is fighting cancer.
As one of her students, Trishcka, puts it, “Eleanor is our Zumba mama. She is one of the most passionate and dedicated instructors I have ever seen.”