Senior citizens pampered as part of Mandela Day celebration

The elderly enjoying themselves.

Members of two organisations for senior citizens in Khayelitsha were pampered and empowered as volunteers from companies and other groups gave 67 minutes of their time for Mandela Day last Thursday, July 18.

Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids (GAPA), situated in J Section, Khayelitsha, got a visit from legal experts who shared tips on various aspects of the law and I &J prepared delicious meals for them.

In Ilitha Park, the Sinovuyo Old Age Group held various activities to mark the day. Young people planted vegetables and did some paint work to beautify their premises. NPO Uthando SA have been supporting the Sinovuyo Old Age Group since its inception about five years ago.

Uthando founding director, James Fernie, said they wanted the grandparents to feel loved and appreciated.

Mr Fernie said it was important for senior citizens to be treated like queens and kings because at times they felt neglected. He said people should not only show the spirit of giving on Mandela Day, but it should be a daily practice.

Uthando has hired gardener Ludwe Qamata to help improve the old age group’s garden.

Two years ago they installed a borehole so that they could have their own water supply.

The idea, said Mr Fernie, was to use the garden to showcase what could be achieved if people are connected and work together.

He said a young Khayelitsha artist did some painting, which would make the centre beautiful.

“We want to help the seniors achieve their goals. We are helping the group to achieve their vision and dreams.

“I don’t necessarily believe in Mandela Day but every day should be Mandela Day. We should be creating these sustainable partnerships on an ongoing basis. We don’t just come once a day but we are here everyday.

“I wish we had a philosophy of people not just coming for one day here but actually developing relationships with community initiatives,” said Mr Fernie.

Sinovuyo’s secretary, Patricia Ophila, was excited and praised the organisations for always stepping up to assist them.

Ms Ophile said the funding support from Uthando SA has enabled them to keep their doors open. GAPA director, Donovan Adonis, said grandmothers were the backbone of our communities and families and they wanted to celebrate them.

He said they wanted law experts to arm the senior citizens with crucial information and they were blessed that magistrates from Khayelitsha and Cape Town courts could come to speak about family violence and the importance of leaving a will.