EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES: VUYISWA KATE GABUZA’S JOURNEY

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By Vinolia Motshabi

  • At 72 years old, Vuyiswa Kate Gabuza, hailing from Smithfield in the Free State, actively participates in the Mofulatshepe Luncheon Club as Treasurer, where she enjoys sports such as “Ring the Stick” and “Goal Shooting.”
  • Gabuza highlights the need for essential skills and resources in Luncheon Clubs across the Xhariep District, seeking support from local government and the Department of Social Development to benefit older individuals.
  • Encouraging active participation, Gabuza urges older individuals across communities to join clubs, fostering social connections and well-being while representing their collective voice in grassroots advocacy efforts.

Vuyiswa Kate Gabuza, aged 72, comes from Smithfield, the third oldest town in the rural farming Xhariep District of the Free State Province. Smithfield is nestled in a horseshoe of hills, situated 132 kilometres from Bloemfontein, with a population comprised of 91.4% black Africans.

Gabuza became a member of the Mofulatshepe Luncheon Club in 2013, where she now serves as the Treasurer. Luncheon clubs are social gatherings where older individuals come together for meals and various activities. Gabuza actively participates in sporting activities such as “Ring the Stick” and “Goal Shooting.” Before joining the club, Gabuza held the position of Head of Department (HOD) for the Foundation Phase at Mofulatshepe Primary School in Smithfield. Additionally, she serves as the Chairperson of a burial society in the same area.

She expressed her experience in Luncheon Clubs across the Xhariep District as lacking essential skills or resources. To address this, clubs seek assistance from local government and coordinators of the Older Persons Programme in the Department of Social Development to benefit older individuals. Additionally, she noted that Luncheon Club representatives have the opportunity to advocate, mobilise, and represent the collective voice of older persons in communities, particularly at the grassroots level.

Gabuza encouraged all older individuals in different communities and districts to motivate fellow seniors to actively engage in the clubs and to recruit more members for participation in community programs.

She eagerly anticipates success at the National Games and is committed to ensuring the holistic well-being of older individuals, focusing not just on the absence of illness but on their complete physical, mental, and social health. She expressed her solidarity with the team members representing the Free State Province at the National Golden Games.

“I wish you well and I believe you will represent us well as a province. Good Luck!” Said Gabuza.

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