Links with South Africa

I started working as Befriending Coordinator for LinkAge in July and shortly afterwards I went on holiday to South Africa with my family. Whilst there I visited some voluntary projects in the Cape Flats townships, with a charity called Uthando (which means ‘love’). My favourite were the Masibathande Seniors Project, a social project for older people held in a sports hall. We were welcomed with singing and dancing. The older people were really interested to learn about us and cheered loudly when they learnt I worked with older people in the UK! The project was set up earlier this year by a woman called Thembi, who trained as an actress and when asked to play the part of an older woman, did some research and was shocked to find how isolated older people were in the townships. Older people suffered a lot during the apartheid years but their stories are often overlooked. The project offers company, social activities ( they had just been on an outing on Madiba day, the anniversary of Mandela’s birthday) as well as health monitoring.



AS the gap between rich and poor is still very great in South Africa, I made a donation towards Christmas hampers for the older people and at the same time sent them a link to our film ‘Get up, Stand up’. They loved the film and this is the response I received , ‘Just watched your youtube video of the old folks wow wow you guys are doing great work and I do love the infusion and collaboration of different groups love it so much!’ It was shown at their Christmas party! The Malcolm X Centre elders have sent photos of their Christmas do to the Masibathande Seniors, so who knows what will happen next…

Judy Gowenlock.