By Obusitšwe T. Keboněilwe 

  • Minister for Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, advocates for greater recognition of the Golden Games during the closing function in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, hinting at Olympic recognition for the event due to its positive impact on older persons’ lifestyles.
  • The Golden Games, also known as Active Ageing, offer a range of activities such as brisk walking, running, and football, while policymakers work behind the scenes to enhance the living standards of the elderly and promote intergenerational skills transfer.
  • With the 2024 games coinciding with National Human Rights Day, the event not only celebrates active ageing but also reinforces the dignity of older persons, highlighting the importance of treating them fairly and respectfully irrespective of age, gender, or background.

Calls are growing louder for the Golden Games to assume their rightful place in the national sporting calendar.

Being shoved into a smaller corner, where their strategic influence and benefits are missed, is an injustice. Minister for Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, at the closing function of the two-day event in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, came short of a call for Olympic recognition for the games. And who could fault her?  The games, also called Active Ageing, have consistently proven to have positive spin-offs in the lifestyle of older persons.  Reaching age 60 is often deemed a waiting period for the grave, but with improving health owing to an active lifestyle, it is the grave that is waiting. 

With brisk walking, running, football and a wide range of other games defining the Golden Games festivities, behind the scenes, women and men are hard at work crafting policies aimed at improving the overall living standards of the elderly. Older persons must remain active in societal matters, thereby imparting skills and knowledge to the young. The elderly remain the cornerstones in deepening morals and values in the youth.

The 2024 games closing a day after the National Human Rights Day is befitting as they also entrench the dignity of the old. Treating older persons fairly regardless of age, gender, racial or ethnic background is surely a perfect way to restore their dignity. 

If the games are to get their deserved widened national recognition, the burden on health for chronic diseases will lessen. Those resources could be channelled to other programmes, leading to innovations. 

To Social Development the golden games have proven to be more than the games. The time is ripe for the nation to also witness the magic of Active Ageing games on a large scale.

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