Sharpeville resident Gogo Miriam Moabi at Ikageng Old Age Relief Centre

By Lawrence Mashabela

  • Marriam Moabi, a 92-year-old from Sharpeville, applauds the Gauteng Department of Social Development for its unwavering support of senior citizens, emphasising their invaluable contributions to society.
  • Ikageng Old Age Relief Centre, where Moabi is an active member, provides a sanctuary for the elderly to engage in meaningful activities such as exercise, sewing, and gardening, enhancing their well-being.
  • Centre Manager Sellwane Mashinini highlights the centre’s impact on the community, its efforts to diversify funding, and plans for expansion to continue supporting vulnerable elderly residents.

Marriam Moabi, a 92-year-old resident of Sharpeville in Sedibeng, never stops singing praises for the Gauteng Department of Social Development’s continued efforts in caring for senior citizens despite various challenges. She emphasised that senior citizens are the pillars of our communities, and it is crucial to acknowledge and appreciate their contributions to society. “We are still capable of making changes and positively contributing to the economy through our experience,” she said.

Gogo Moabi has been a member of Ikageng Old Age Relief Centre in Sharpeville since her retirement in 1992. She highlighted the centre’s tremendous work in providing elderly people with opportunities to showcase their talents and skills, even in their golden years. “The centre is good for our wellbeing as it helps us forget about our problems at home. This organisation gives us peace of mind. We come here to exercise, engage in sewing projects where we produce pillowcases and tablecloths, and do gardening where we grow vegetables like onions, spinach, and tomatoes. Some we sell, and some we cook for ourselves,” she added.

According to Sellwane Mashinini, one of the founders and the current Centre Manager at Ikageng Old Age Relief Centre, the organisation has made steadfast progress in helping senior citizens around Sharpeville find meaningful activities. She noted that the impact of the organisation on the community is evident, especially among the elderly. “We don’t have security in our facility, but no one will come and vandalise this place. That’s how protective our people are of the organisation. We provide meals for vulnerable families, including young people dealing with substance abuse and those who are homeless. Our elderly members are very active; they cook healthy meals and support the centre wholeheartedly,” she said.

Mashinini further pointed out that establishing a name in the NPO sector can be a significant challenge for many. However, Ikageng Old Age Relief Centre remains resilient and committed to the cause of caring for and supporting elderly people. She expressed hope for the organisation’s expansion and constant commitment to achieving excellence. She added that adhering to values of resilience and determination often proves beneficial in the long run.

Ikageng Old Age Relief Centre was established in 1986 by local volunteers to support elderly people and encourage them to remain active citizens. The centre offers various activities, including gym sessions, participation in golden games and choir festivals, and provides transportation for medical check-ups.

Although the centre receives 70% of its funding from the Gauteng Department of Social Development, Mashinini reiterated that they are working tirelessly to diversify their funding sources to reduce dependency on government funds. “We have just bought a piece of land that we hope will help us expand and start income-generating projects such as farming and establishing our bakery,” she added.

The centre currently employs fifteen people, including some young individuals. “It is important that we care for older persons and ensure that they remain safe and well looked after during their twilight years,” she concluded.

Picture taken by: Thabiso Kumalo



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