#StrongWomen Feature: Botle Kayamba

Botle Kayamba was diagnosed with an Ameloblastoma type 3 tumour, which led to swelling in her face and the loss of her left jaw. The tumour eventually ended her modelling career. Today, Botle is a successful personal trainer and an inspiring strong woman in her community and in the fitness industry. We catch up with Botle to find out more about her journey, her lifestyle and what/who inspires her on her journey.


Name: Botle Kayamba

Age: 35 

Occupation: Fitness Trainer


How did your journey in the health and fitness industry start?

When I was diagnosed with a rare kind of tumour called Ameloblastoma type 3, which caused swelling on my face and affected the left side of my face. Having to deal with losing my left jaw in the process was one of the most challenging phases of my life. Life became very tough as I could no longer pursue my modelling career at that time because of how I looked after my 3rd operation.

I used to conduct aerobics sessions and would invite kids from my neighbourhood and church to join me. That proved to be a cathartic process for me. It was very therapeutic – it was fulfilling and it helped me regain confidence in myself. I felt in charge and content with myself, which was a major step toward learning to accept me the way I was and learn to embrace my scars. Kids and parents would thank me for keeping them active, and for keeping them busy and away from the streets. They would also become excited and full of energy when their transformations became more evident. It was at that moment that I knew fitness was my passion. Fitness changed my life for the better. I found myself in fitness.

What or who inspired you to start your journey?

Growing up in a disadvantaged community was inspiring enough for me to pursue my fitness journey as there was a real need. Most people were inactive and the rate of obesity in both adults and children kept increasing because there weren’t enough resources to help our people.

Why is staying fit and healthy through exercise and nutrition important to you?

For me, it’s about living life to its fullest extent. Physical and mental fitness play very important roles in my life. Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle and, when combined with physical activity, my diet helps me reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Why do you love helping people reach their health and fitness goals?

Because I get inspired by their transformation stories. I also want them to understand that being healthy and staying fit is a choice and that every one of us has the ability to achieve anything we put our minds to. My responsibility as a trainer is to help, guide, coach and train them to be the best version of themselves.

What do you love most about your job and lifestyle?

It allows me to be me. I get to meet and work with different people on a daily basis. I work at certain times during the day, which gives me the flexibility to do other important things and, importantly, spend time with my son after school.

How do you stay motivated?

The word of God keeps me motivated, so I believe in the power of prayer. I also love surrounding myself with positive people who push me to do great things.

Give us a brief outline of your training routine

Warm up for 5 – 10 minutes, usually running on a treadmill.

Upper body workout for 15 minutes

Push-ups on a stability ball – 3 sets x 8 reps

Bench dips – 3 sets x 10 reps

Bicep curls – 3 sets x 10 reps

Plank rows – 3 sets x 10 reps

Lower body workout for 15 minutes

Barbell squats – 5 sets x 3-6 reps

Single-leg deadlifts – 5 sets x 10 reps

Hip thrusts – 5 sets x 10 reps

Cool down for 5 minutes with some stretching.

How do you structure your nutrition plan?

I try to eat a balanced diet that contains good carbohydrates, protein, good fats, vitamins and water. So my plate will have about 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% veggies. I prefer my plate to be as colourful as possible.

What are your top tips for others who want to start their health journeys?

Know your ‘why’ – why do you want to be healthy?

Do it for yourself.

Believe in yourself. Know that you can do it if you put your mind to it.

Be consistent.

What advice would you give to others who want to pursue a lifestyle like yours?

Discipline always trumps motivation.

You need to be passionate about the lifestyle.

Remember that it is a lifestyle and not a duty.

Never stop pushing.

What are your future plans for your journey?

I want to have my own training video series that people can use at home or anywhere. I would also like to have an online platform where I can share information and touch base on fitness and healthy living matters with those across South Africa and across the border.

What is your favourite exercise?

A plank is definitely one of my favourite exercises, mainly because it works all the core muscles at the same time.

What is your favourite muscle group to train?

For upper body, it is definitely the abdominals, and lower body is glutes.

What is your favourite training discipline?

Cardio such as aerobics and dance, and bodyweight exercises for strength training. For balance, mobility and posture I love doing Pilates.

What is your favourite cheat meal?

Ice cream, and pizza.

Who in the global or local fitness community inspires you to be a strong woman?

Definitely Natalie Du Toit. She never allowed her condition to determine her abilities to reach and achieve her goals as a swimmer. It shows just how strong of a woman she is and that is why I admire her.

Can you give us 5 facts about you?

I’m a sports management graduate, adidas ambassador, fitness trainer, mother and a good friend.

Follow Botle’s inspiring journey on Instagram.


Author: Tanja Schmitz

Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.