09.10.2019

Take 10: Koko Pambo

Raising the bar with the networking know-it-all

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Words: Nhlanhla Masemola | Photography: Nadia von Scotti | Videography: Maxime Thaysen


This Body Moves is our sport campaign celebrating all of the big and small ways that our bodies carry us. This body adapts, struggles, learns. This body endures, it accomplishes, it has what it takes. This body soaks up the stories that make up a lifetime of living with its own identity, heritage, failures, capabilities and wins. This body sets its own pace. This body sets its own terms.

Meet Koko Pambo. He’s hardwired to make people laugh. With his sunny disposition, massive smile and generous spirit, you’re guaranteed an upward mood swing with him in the room. Having grown up on a farm in the Eastern Cape, away from manic buzz of city living, Koko moved to Cape Town for love and to start a career as a Front End Developer and now works as a marketing professional. From regularly eating junk food in primary school to trying tennis, rugby, waterpolo, hockey, ballroom dancing, volleyball and athletics as a young man, his body has gone through many changes over the years. Now, at 32 years old, Koko’s views on his body, fitness and wellness have changed.

My body is a good place to be because...

It can do everything I want to do, it heals quickly and it feels really good.

What do you like to wear while being active?

When swimming, I like to wear a speedo and a pair of flippers. On a run, I opt for compression shorts, a vest and my favourite sneakers and I typically dress the same way at the gym.

What do you eat before you work out?

I usually work out early in the mornings, so I’ll enjoy a good supper with a high carb and protein content the night before. Afterwards, I’ll probably have a smoothie – that’s if I don’t succumb to the urge to eat something chocolatey and delicious. (I’m in love with the cocoa.)

If you had to choose your last meal on earth?

A spicy pad thai and ice-cream chocolate cake for dessert.

What does health mean to you and how do you define it?

Health means feeling great. I know that I’m on track with my health – getting enough exercise, eating well and taking care of myself – when I have a lot of energy and I feel strong and capable.

What misconceptions do you think people have about fitness?

That being “fit” means you weigh a certain amount or have a certain shape.

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What was your favourite moment while shooting the Superbalist Sport 2019 campaign?

The dancing. And watching Meyo show us some of his Muay Thai moves.

When have you felt your most beautiful?

Just before, during and after our performance at the Littlegig 24-hour music festival. I looked fabulous in a gold sequin gown and a Zulu headdress like the Queen of Wakanda. I was on my feet pretty much throughout the entire festival and I couldn’t stop dancing. We danced everywhere – on the basketball court, as we wandered through the farm looking at installations, in the middle of a sandy riverbed… and I was gloriously spent when we eventually got into the car to go home.

Has your body size changed or stayed the same over time?

I was a chubby young boy in primary school, because I ate a lot of junk food and my grandparents seldom denied us these indulgences (and when they did, we would just ask the nanny). I remember being curious and trying out a lot of different sports, but rugby stuck the most. This is probably why my body started changing. I became a lot more active, even though my sweet tooth didn’t let up. Later, I preferred spending my time on cultural activities like drama, oratory and music. However, I would still run on the beach pretty regularly and I enjoyed swimming.

What do you love most about your body?

I think what I like most about my body is my smile.

And the least?

I wish my chest hair grew more evenly.

Do you have a favourite recreational activity?

I love running in the mornings and I like to dance.