For the first time since the isolation caused by Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, hundreds of seniors met at the Gugulethu Sports Complex Hall on Friday October 28, to celebrate the month of the older persons.
At the event, members of the 21 different clubs and groups affiliated with Ikamva Labantu presented traditional foods, songs, dances, plays and other exhibits.
The organisation said its goal for the senior’s programme was to support seniors to actively live out their golden years with dignity, improved health, safety, and a sense of belonging and value in their communities for as long as possible.
The theme of the day was, Buyelembo, that reminded people not to forget their roots and where they come from.
One of the organisers, Sheila Mguda said the day was also an opportunity to show the seniors that they were being cared for.
“Covid19 was devastating to all of us. We have never met since then. We also lost many of our members and we could not bury them. Today we also remembered them by lighting candles. We are here to celebrate a cultural day but also to show them that we care for the older person. We are here to show compassion. This is their month,” she said.
The seniors were in a happy mood; they sang and danced throughout the event. The programme also focused on the importance of mental health for seniors and healthy living.
“We encourage them to exercise and keep warm all the time. We also know how stressful it is to live with their grandchildren, with their money (sometimes being) taken from them. We encourage them to join clubs because that is where they share their stories, play together, involved in sewing, beading and other activities that keeps them happy all the time,” said Ms Mguda.
Helen Lieberman, founder of Ikamva Labantu, praised the seniors for their resistance and said without them there would be no one living today. “They are magic. We value them. We would not be here if it was not for them. It is good to see them in such a spirit. We love and care for them,” she said.
The event started with a 500m walk with each seniors’ club displaying their flag.