Who can think of a female body-builder?
The gender stereotype rocking most areas of society has its grip even in sports, where a female body-builder, for one, is unfathomable.
It is unthinkable for a woman to venture into expanding their musculature, the body-building sport.
Not for Dorothy Kumbatira.
While a lot of women go to the gym for health reasons, the Blantyre-based Kumbatira is on a mission to set a revolution of female body-builders on course in the country.
She works out for muscle engorgement. She is probably the first Malawian woman of vascularity.
In 2017, Kumbatira was decorated with a trophy during the Ulaya Classic Show as the most robust lady. She has also participated in South Africa’s top-flight show, the Gentle Giant Body-building.
The 33-year-old mother said these events have been her springboards to participate in other similar nature shows.
“It was my dream come true and exciting. I had good preparations in order to succeed. I would do it again at advanced stages because body-building is in my blood,” she said.
This year, Kumbatira is the only Malawian to contest at an international show in Johannesburg in South Africa dubbed ‘Fitness Bikini, over 172cm’.
The female culturista owes the achievements so far to her father who helped nurture the sport instinct.
“From my childhood, he encouraged me to take up biking, tennis and swimming. By default, I spent some time at the gym for overall fitness,” said Kumbatira.
She was inspired by women body-builders around the world, but took it seriously after her Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Science studies at the Malawi Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima).
Kumbatira has challenged the local society’s set-up that perceive body-building a masculine sport. According to her, the syndrome makes most ladies to shun it.
“That is a very misconceived presentation. I am so passionate about fitness and nothing can stop me. There is a new twist in the western world towards the sport as more ladies are interested in it,” she said.
Three months ago, the brawny woman said she went through a confused moment, after months of intensive training, a women’s category of Zambezi Classic competition failed to take place at the eleventh hour in Zambia.
“I was not disappointed, but kept on training to prepare for the Johannesburg event which is big. I will keep my candle burning by keeping on exercising to attend bigger shows in 2019,” she said.
However, Kumbatira is delighted with growing numbers of women storming gyms in towns and cities, saying it is a good sport to live a healthy lifestyle.
She is 175 centimetres tall, weighing 75 kilograms (kgs) and working out to be 68 kgs on the day of the ‘Fitness Bikini, over 172cm’.