By Alfred Virgil Petersen

  • The Golden Games, held from March 20th to March 21st, 2024, in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, gather elderly participants from various provinces to partake in the Active Ageing Programme.
  • Among these participants is Vangile Mngxaso, a 70-year-old from the Northern Cape, who embodies the resilience and camaraderie fostered by the programme, describing herself as a veteran of the Golden Games.
  • Mrs. Mngxaso’s journey in the programme reflects the transformative power of active ageing, highlighting the importance of newfound friendships, spiritual growth, and physical vitality in enhancing the lives of older individuals.

The Golden Games commenced on March 20th and will run until March 21st, 2024, in Mbombela, Mpumalanga. Elderly individuals from diverse provinces have gathered to participate in the Active Ageing Programme. Each province has contributed choirs to the event, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of their respective regions. Many participants, like Vangile Mngxaso, 70, from the Northern Cape, have been actively involved in the Department of Social Development’s Golden Games for over five years, bringing with them remarkable tales of experience and resilience.

She describes herself as a veteran of the Golden Games, having dedicated a considerable amount of time to the program. Having been a part of this journey she categorised it as a new life chapter in her story, “Having met friends that turn into family, and some of them I refer to as colleagues, because we are together at all times.” She states that it has been a blessed journey.

Given the nature of this programme, there’s a multitude of health benefits that come with Ageing Actively. Vangile Mngxaso, states, “Being a part of Golden Games made her relive her youth despite her age because being active gives you many chances and not just a second chance to regain your healthy lifestyle back.”

As a long-term participant in this programme, Mrs. Vangile Mngxaso has undoubtedly faced challenges of her own. ” The mode of transportation for the elder persons isn’t that conducive for stretching and going to the bathroom due the age, but regardless of that, we all seem to overcome peculiar challenges when we are all together because this programme had not only brought us together as a family but the lessons we learned, we managed to incorporate it into our lifestyles and maintain an evenly balanced life, despite the challenges that arises.”

She mentioned that what motivated her to stay in the programme was the opportunity to meet people her age and even slightly younger, which provided many new insights. The communication among her peers kept her well-informed. Mrs. Vangile Mngxaso expressed that the highlight of the programme was the Games, particularly the 200m races, which are among her favourite sports. Running brings her great joy and makes her feel youthful once again.

Challenges come in many forms, Mrs Vangile stated that growing spiritually with her peers has been a regular occurrence, ” As we grow older, we grow more closer to God, in difficult times, we would start singing church hymns, because with God we can overcome anything.”

Mrs. Vangile Mngxaso emphasizes that her recommendation of this programme extends beyond athletics; it encompasses numerous positive and character-shaping experiences. She enthusiastically shares her thoughts about the programme with her family and friends on every possible occasion, hoping that they too will have the opportunity to experience what she has enjoyed for over five years and continues to do so to this day.

She has been a part of the choir, ” I have become a member of the choir, it is a place for my spiritualism to become vibrant through the hymns we sing and to strengthen it because when you sing, you don’t only use your voice but you sing with your heart because God listens to what comes from your heart.”

She stated, “I will stay a member of the Golden Games for the remainder of my years on earth.”

The Golden Games has been a haven for the elderly persons of the various provinces and will continue to be that, for the rest of the years to come.

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