Exercising your way to wellness

The annual Wellness Day was well received by staff this year.

Over 130 staff members took advantage of Discovery health screenings on both campuses and CPUT Campus Health Clinics and the HIV/Aids unit tested and screened almost 100 staff members.

Human Capital – Lifestyle & Wellness specialist Samukelisiwe Mbambo said more staff members participated in the Fun Walk than the Virgin Active Zumba sessions while the shoulder massages proved to be very popular.

“Our partners for the 2018 Wellness Day sponsored soccer balls (Sanlam) and T-Shirts (IEMAS), conducted assessments on mental health (Akeso Clinics and The South African Depression and Anxiety Group), provided budgeting tools (DGSA) and information on the CPUT Omega Caro-E capsule,” said Mbambo.

The fun run which took place on the Bellville campus saw staff walk around the campus before taking to the track on the Sports Field where they encouraged each other to break into the occasional jog with much laughter.

The Lifestyle & Wellness unit has started working on their plans for next year and want to include more of the CPUT satellite campuses in their efforts.

“We have partnered with the CPUT Sports Department. Currently we have two teams, soccer and netball, and we want to launch a cycling club in 2019. We are looking into branding through caps and other fitness gear for employees who participate in Discovery Vitality activities on weekends, such as fun runs. This would allow the office to know how many Vitality members are active.

“Employees are encouraged to sign up for group or departmental fitness activities so that the Wellness office could support them,” said Mbambo.

She was excited that Virgin Active are negotiating with the Lifestyle & Wellness unit to partner with CPUT to offer Zumba classes next year.

Written by Theresa Smith

New Lifestyle and Wellness Specialist for CPUT

In an effort to improve the work performance of CPUT staff members the Human Capital Department has recently employed a dedicated Lifestyle and Wellness Specialist.

The position is newly created and will cater to all elements of employee wellness including social, emotional, physical and financial wellbeing.

Samukelisiwe Mzele, or Sam as she is comfortable being called, is the woman who will be crafting the position into shape at the institution.

She relocated from KZN where her previous positions have been at the Department of Health in Training and Development and as a Social Worker.

“I am a trained Social Worker and this position was perfect for me because I wanted to go back into the therapeutic side of field,’ she says.

Mzele says an institution as large and complex as CPUT requires a full time specialist to mitigate any crises- like the protest action last year which was an inevitable cause of increased anxiety in staff.

“My first plan is to develop a range of interventions and information leaflets on how to handle trauma or intense pressure. Naturally the co-ordination of the entire Wellness model will also be my responsibility,” she says.

Contact Mzele at mzeles@cput.ac.za if you want to find out how she can assist your department to function better.

Lifestyle and Wellness fever hots up

The Staff Lifestyle and Wellness event is coming to a campus near you during the last week of September.

It is the same Discovery Wellness event that has traditionally been hosted at the institution but this time a variety of other vendors have been invited to showcase their wares.

This includes holistic offerings, financial and physical wellness classes and advice and a variety of discussions and workshops on things like hearing loss etc…

Training and Development Manager Shahieda Hendricks says they have worked hard to grow the event at no extra cost.

“Everyone who is showcasing at the event is doing so at no cost. We have opened the doors to the whole campus community so that it can be a more exciting experience which people want to linger at,” she says.

There will be fantastic free gifts for the first staff members to complete their basic health checks like glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.

An invitation was sent to all inboxes but staff who have not RSVP’d are very welcome to attend regardless.

Attend at the venue closest to you anytime between 9am and 3pm.

  • Cape Town campus- Multi-purpose Hall- 28 September
  • Bellville campus- Sports Hall- 29 September
  • Mowbray campus- Staff Room- 30 September
  • Wellington campus- Gym- 1 October

Too fit to quit

The Winter break was anything but restful for staff of the CPUT Fitness Club based at the Bellville campus.

The first phase of the CPUT Lifestyle and Wellness programme was launched in July and aims to get as many staff members as possible to embrace fitness.

Classes are hosted by Joy of Movement Fitness Solutions who have decades of experience working in commercial gyms and running their own fitness studio in Bellville.

The launch was kicked off with a fitness assessment which was attended by a record number of eager staff members. The assessment included a weight, height, stretch and girth measurement then concluded with a running, squat, push-up and sit-up evaluation.

This information was used to evaluate the general group fitness and will also track the progress of individual members as they work towards their year-end fitness goals.

Staff physical wellness will eventually be rolled out campus wide but a lack of facilities has stalled this progress.

Head trainer Lee Van Der Bergh says CPUT staff members have a golden opportunity to harness their own fitness goals within the comfort of their own work environment.

“We have all the facilities right here and Joy of Movement is about turning back the years and reminding you how good it felt to move and be fit,” he says.

Sessions change regularly but include bootcamp on Mondays, fighting fitness and self-defence on Tuesdays and cardio and toning on Thursday.

If you are interested in joining the Bellville class contact Lauren Kansley at kansleyl@cput.ac.za.


Mindfulness: Dealing with difficult emotions

Most of us will have problems in dealing with difficult emotions at some time or other in our lives. Unpleasant emotions can be a downward spiral of physical sensations, thoughts and feelings that could be overwhelming. It would be very helpful if we were able to become fully aware of the emotions, suspend judgement and in that way shift our perceptions of the difficult emotions.


The practice of mindfulness can deal with unpleasant emotions by combining a spirit of gentleness and acceptance with a spirit of adventure and discovery. By being aware of what is in the present moment, we will only focus on the problem of the moment rather than on all the problems of next week or next year. This attitude of acceptance of what the present moment brings, is illustrated in the poem “The Guest House” by Rumi, a 13th century Sufi poet (in Williams, Teasdale, Segal & Kabat-Zinn, 2007):


This human being is a guest house

Every morning a new arrival


A joy, a depression, a meanness,

Some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor


Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

Empty of its furniture,

Still, treat each guest honourably

He may be clearing you out

For some new delight


The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

Meet them at the door laughing,

And invite them in


Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent

As a guide from beyond.


Mindfulness leads us on the path of full awareness of the moment, coupled with elements of curiosity and self-compassion. In this way mindfulness practice can lead to a positive shift in our perceptions and change our relationship with difficult emotions.



Wllliams, M., Teasdale, J., Segal, Z. & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2007). The mindful way through depression. The Guilford Press: New York, NY.


For a further exploration of mindfulness make an appointment with a student counsellor

Mindfulness: Freeing yourself from unhappiness

Our thinking can be bad for our health. Constant thinking about an event or problem can take us into a downward spiral of negative memories, images and thinking patterns. This then often leads to a mood of unhappiness or even depression.


An alternative strategy for handling everyday problems and negative moods is through the cultivation of mindfulness. The authors of the book: The mindful way through depression, describes mindfulness as “…..the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally to things as they are” (p47). The key seems to be awareness. Instead of relying on critical thinking to lead us out of a negative or sad mood, we need to focus on an awareness of our thoughts and feelings. This is called the being mode of mind as opposed to the doing mode. By focussing on the awareness of the being mode we can learn to experience the world directly without the relentless commentary of our thoughts. We can learn to see our thoughts as mere thoughts that come and go in the mind, rather than absolute truths. Being more aware of ourselves and our thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations can help us focus our actions where they can make a difference in our lives.


The essence of mindfulness can be seen as follows:

  • Intentional and a choice that we can make
  • Experiential with a focus on present experiences, rather than the past or future
  • Non-judgemental and accepting things as they are without comparing them to an internal or external standard


When our thinking gets stuck and takes us into a downward spiral of negative memories, images and thinking patterns, mindfulness might be just the alternative mode of being that we need. With mindfulness we can explore our emotions in a non-judgemental and self-compassionate attitude that could open up new possibilities.



Wllliams, M., Teasdale, J., Segal, Z. & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2007). The mindful way through depression. The Guilford Press: New York, NY.