In celebration of Women's Health Week, Teva speaks with Sheron Sultan, the founder of Afro Step, a high-intensity and inclusive workout for all. Inspiring health and fitness through African music, movement and shared storytelling outdoors, she creates an escape from the hustle of urban life talking all things about the adventure she’s undertaken with her program, and why she’s out to motivate all.
To begin, hello! Can you tell us your name, a little bit about yourself & how you like to start your day?
Sanibonani (Hello in Zulu)!
My name is Sheron Sultan, I was born in the beautiful countryside of South Africa and for the last 15 years have made Sydney my home. I start most mornings by giving thanks for another day and all the opportunities ahead.
We’d love to know your thought process behind starting Yatimba and Afrostep, and the reason for picking the outdoors as your prime location for holding classes?
Having delivered a number of youth programs in the past, I noticed the need for an accessible dance workout for young people (and adults) set to exciting African rhythms.
Over time, we added personal development modules covering topics such as diversity, social media, bullying and building resilience and created a 10 week high school program called Yatimba™!
I am so grateful to live in a beautiful city with relatively good low pollution, clean parks and beaches.
We have found that our participants often prefer outdoor locations for Afro Step™ to be closer to nature (parks and beach locations), breathe fresh air and experience a sense of freedom. After all humans are created to connect with nature.
Research shows that people with a greater connection to nature are more likely to behave positively towards the environment, wildlife and habitats.
What are the main benefits when attending an Afro Step class?
Get ready to build strength, burn body fat, increase core stability, improve rhythmic coordination and balance. Mostly connect with your inner spirit and improve your mental health.
What inspired you to pursue a career in empowering and encouraging others through movement?
As a teenager, I lost my identity and made wrong decisions just because I wanted to fit in. It was through my grandmother’s guidance and my engagement in athletics that I finally developed resilience and rediscovered my confidence!
Yatimba!™ and Afro Step™ allowed me to give back to those that need support and encouragement the most. An inclusive fitness and self-development platform designed to equip participants with the necessary skills and understanding to improve physical and mental health, realize their full potential, and contribute positively to their communities.
What motivates you each day & how much importance do you place on the value of community?
Helping young people to overcome challenges and realize their potential gets me up in the morning.
Building a community is very important because we all seek to belong.
In South Africa we use the term ‘UBUNTU’, it has its roots in humanist African philosophy, where the idea of community is one of building society. "I am, because you are”.
'Ubuntu is a foreign concept meaning 'I am because you are.' It embraces the idea that humans cannot exist in isolation. We depend on connection, community, and caring — simply, we cannot be without each other. This philosophy requires a conscious shift in how we think about ourselves and others, especially at a time when our nation is more divided than ever.' - Carly Webb, Ubuntu: I Am Because You Are
In celebration of Women’s Health Week, we’re celebrating all Women who are out to motivate the health of others – can you tell us your biggest piece of advice for those on the journey of getting fit?
Getting fit requires determination, passion and willingness to work on yourself every day, not just physically but mentally too. You don't need much to keep fit, our ancestors did not have any fitness equipment, they walked for miles carrying heavy objects, yes that was incidental physical activity and their nutrition was very simple. Job accomplished.
My advice to all the wonderful women, keep it simple and fun, work on yourself by facing your insecurities and spend a lot of time with yourself getting to know who you are and what your purpose is in life.
I truly believe that I am my biggest investment and always put myself as a priority so I am physically and mentally stronger for others.
Being connected to the outdoors with your classes, how much importance do you place on fashion and fitness brands supporting sustainability & preserving the outside world?
Having grown up surrounded by unspoiled nature, I personally believe that every business should make decisions with sustainability and environmental protection in mind - we only have one planet and we must not spoil it for future generations.
Shop Original Sandals
Where have you found yourself wearing your new Teva sandals, do they fit well into your lifestyle?
WOW, the Original Universals are the best sandals I've ever worn. Where have they been all my life?
I wore them while doing my Afro Step session and just going out for a casual walk, so comfortable, my feet were not aching. I cannot wait to go for my mini bush walk.
I actually have flat feet, so my podiatrist recommended I wear supportive and comfortable shoes, no more high heels. It's been challenging to find sandals that are fashionable and suitable for my feet. So Teva sandals are my lifesaver.
What’s next for Sheron Sultan?
My biggest goal is to partner up with brands and organizations that share our values and strive to make a meaningful impact on individuals towards the betterment of society.