Windhoek- Thirty-five-year-old Oliver Mutumbu says we’re it not for Namibia’s President Hage Geingob, he would still be a fitness trainer and not the proprietor of a fitness centre in Windhoek.
Before he co-owned Genesis Fitness Centre, Mutumbu worked as the future president’s personal trainer.
This was in 2012 when Geingob was Minister of Industry and Trade, and in 2015 as Prime Minister.
“In my career journey as a fitness trainer, I have had the opportunity to train President Geingob when he was still the country’s Trade Minister and the Prime Minister. I remember during our sessions, he used to encourage me to start my own fitness centre,” said Mutumbu.
He says President Geingob’s humility, concern and insights really impressed him and set him on the path to entrepreneurship.
“President Geingob was a very down-to-earth man. He was not puffed up and he was quite respectful and friendly.
“My experience with him made me wiser. He did a lot to encourage me to start my own venture and he certainly believed in me more than I believed in myself at the time.”
Mutumbu has always been a fitness fanatic, but never thought that his passion would become a business.
Now he helps players from the country’s top football clubs stay in shape, a service that has proved to be particularly in demand in a sporting year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was the Black Africa fitness trainer for two years and had the opportunity to train their star players like Willy Stefunus and the Katopose twins, as well as goalkeeper Jack Mabhuku. A lot of my work has been with footballers.”
Mutumbu started as product manager at Virgin Active in Cape Town, South Africa at the time he was finalising undergraduate studies in that country.
He then moved to Virgin Active Namibia, again as product manager with a special brief to boost revenues.
He says his biggest challenge has been penetrating societies that have historically not been keen on investing in personal fitness, but he would not trade what he does for anything else.