Traditional songs and ululations echoed through the walls of the offices of Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids (GAPA), in Khayelitsha, when the organisation hosted a music concert for about 50 senior citizens, with the aim of enabling them to have a leisure time with their peers, on Friday June 24.
The event was also held to raise funds for the additional needs of the elderly and to allow them to have some fun and reminisce about their younger days and relax.
Addressing the seniors at the event, GAPA’s executive director, Vivian Budaza, expressed her sincere appreciation to them, saying that words could not describe the good work they were doing by raising their grandchildren, despite the hardship they had to endure.
She said although the circumstances at home might not be good all the time, because they were passionate about guiding their children and grandchildren into the right direction, they had made many sacrifices to make things better and create a better life for them.
She said often these women were the sole breadwinners at their homes, while many were also nursing their dying children and bringing up orphaned grandchildren on their own – and because of these mammoth tasks at hand, they had little or no time just to have fun and relax.
“(Our)programmes have a played a critical role in looking after the well-being of the elderly.
“But we thought it would be vital to bring back this music concert because the elderly face a lot of challenges and they need some time to have fun with their peers. We had also prepared scrumptious food for them because this is their day to enjoy,” Ms Budaza said.
Among the programmes offered by GAPA are support groups, advocacy and community involvement, monthly indabas, gardening and making of crafts and workshops and training for grandmothers.
GAPA chairperson Olivia Matabata, 70, said because senior citizens often faced a lot of challenges, among them abuse and victimisation from their children and grandchildren, they felt that they needed to provide an avenue for stress release for the seniors.
She added that they had about 16 elderly singing groups, but only 10 managed to make it to the event as others had been unable to afford the costs involved with hiring transport to take them to the event.
She said that the event had allowed her a chance for once not to think about the challenges she was grappling with, but to have fun with her peers and for them to motivate each other.
“Each and every group that performed here had to pay R100 as part of the fundraising drive and the money that we have generated would be used for some of our basics needs. We hope to make this an annual event from now on.
“GAPA is an NGO and is solely dependent on donors and we need to assist it wherever we can.
“We appeal to children and grandchildren not to abuse us because all we want is for them to have a better future,” she said.
Adult librarian at Kuyasa library Lungelwa Ciliba showered the grandmothers with gifts such as bags, bookmarks , USB devices and notepads, expressing her gratitude to them for the pivotal role they play in the community. She said they have support groups at the library for the elderly through which they advise them how to deal with their daily challenges.
“I attended the event to show you that there are still daughters who would do anything for their mothers and grandmothers.
“We still do care about you and we want to encourage you to never let the challenges you are grappling with kill the spirit of kindness in your hearts,” she said.
Thandi Mgushelo, 55, said she felt excited about the event as it reminded her of her days as a young girl.
“The concert made me think of my late husband and I wish he was still alive, but nonetheless I have enjoyed myself and I had good time with my peers,” she said.