FaceOf: Reham Afandi, Saudi breast cancer survivor and Zumba instructor

Reham Afandi
Updated 29 October 2018

FaceOf: Reham Afandi, Saudi breast cancer survivor and Zumba instructor

  • Reham Afandi's journey with breast cancer has been a story of hope, bravery and faith for Saudi women
  • She encourages other women diagnosed with cancer to deal with the situation with a positive frame of mind

Reham Afandi is a Saudi breast cancer survivor and a Zumba instructor since 2013. 

Afandi is a 34-year-old mother of two, and a Zumba coach, based in Jeddah. Her journey with breast cancer has been a story of hope, bravery and faith for Saudi women. 

Afandi began sharing her recovery story with other women through motivational speeches and by supporting and participating in awareness campaigns and events in Jeddah city. She has been interviewed several times by Saudi newspapers, radio, and TV channels. 

Before being diagnosed with cancer, Afandi did not have any health issues. One day, however, she felt a lump in her breast. She visited her doctor who after a biopsy revealed she had cancer and would have to receive chemotherapy and a radical mastectomy, which meant the complete removal of her affected breast. The doctor also informed Afandi that there was a possibility that she might lose her other breast as well. 

In an interview with Sayidaty program on Rotana channel, she said: “I was extremely shocked ... but I had to convince myself that everything shall pass. I had to be strong and fight through for the sake of my children, I live for them.” 

For Afandi, Zumba training was her source of hope, strength to fight through the painful experience. She stresses the importance of psychological support and encouragement, and that according to her, begins from the inside, from one’s heart.  

She encourages other women diagnosed with cancer to deal with the situation with a positive frame of mind. 

Afandi is a licensed Zumba instructor. She is licensed to teach different types of Zumba classes including high-intensity workout classes, as well as Zumba for young children.  


Anti-govt protesters block key Iraqi port

Updated 6 min 40 sec ago

Anti-govt protesters block key Iraqi port

  • At least 315 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October

BASRA: Protesters blocked entry to Iraq’s main commodities port again on Monday while schools and government offices in many southern cities were shut in response to calls for a general strike.

At least 315 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October, the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Protesters are demanding the overthrow of a political class seen as corrupt and beholden to foreign interests. Unsatisfied by government reform promises they see as meagre, many have turned to civil disobedience tactics.

Hundreds on Monday blocked the entrance to the Umm Qasr commodities port near Basra, preventing employees and tankers from entering and bringing operations down by 50 percent, two port sources said.

If the blockage goes on, operations will come to a complete halt, the sources said. The port was previously blocked from Oct. 29 to Nov. 9 with a brief resumption of operations between Nov. 7-9.

“Our protests in Umm Qasr are in solidarity with our brothers in Tahrir Square and other provinces,” said protester Karim Jawad, referring to the main protest site in Baghdad.

Umm Qasr is Iraq’s main Gulf port. It receives imports of grain, vegetable oils and sugar shipments that feed a country largely dependent on imported food.

The blockage cost the country more than $6 billion during just the first week of the closure, a government spokesman said at the time.

In the southern cities of Hilla, Diwaniya, and the Shiite holy city of Karbala, most schools and government offices were closed after the teachers union declared a strike and others followed suit. There were partial closures in the city of Najaf and some Baghdad schools were also closed.

In Karbala, most shops and markets were closed in response to a call from the local trade chamber. In Hilla and Diwaniya, the striking workers joined the main protest camps in the city centers.

In the southern city of Nassiriya, all schools and government offices were closed but hospitals remained open. One protester died from wounds sustained there on Friday

In Baghdad, labor unions marched to central Tahrir Square to join thousands of protesters who have been camped out there since Oct. 24.

Protesters regained control of a third bridge leading into the capital’s Green Zone on Sunday, part of a weeks-long attempt to disrupt traffic and reach the fortified complex which houses government buildings and foreign missions.

The unrest has shattered the relative calm that followed the defeat of Daesh in 2017.