By Jessica Msiza 

  • Zenzele Mdidimba, a member of the North West team in the National Golden Games, represents his province alongside other pensioners and NPO founders, relying on grants to support their families.
  • Despite facing challenges such as limited sports resources, the team demonstrates resilience by pooling resources and prioritising their active ageing programme, leveraging sports participation to enhance fitness and reduce stress-related illnesses.
  • Mr Mdidimba advocates for responsible behaviour among young people, emphasising the importance of respecting elders and raising awareness about mental health issues affecting older individuals, with plans to implement an awareness programme within the team.

Zenzele Mdidimba (62) is based in Mogwase Village, North West Province. He represents the North West team in the National Golden Games and is a member of their forum. The team consists of a lot of pensioners, both men and women and people who are founders of NPOs within the Province. Most of the team get grants and are able to maintain their families

The challenge that the North West team has is that of limited resources for sports, however the older person can donate to purchase those resources and move forward with their active ageing programme.

Their involvement in Sports helps them to keep fit and reduces their stress levels, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. “I am very happy to see many older people participating in sports, I thought it was only North West, being in the Golden Games event makes me proud and motivated to continue with the sports, I am now fit and always ready to jump unlike before where I was always tired and I did not see the reason to keep fit,” said Mr Zenzele Mdidimba.

The government is striving to support older people by enhancing their livelihoods, promoting their engagement in sports activities as a means of exploration and enjoyment, and offering grants to sustain their well-being. Additionally, Mr Mdidimba serves as the chairperson of the SAPS forum, contributing to community initiatives and actively participating in ward committee programmes.

The forum is trying hard to recruit other members of the community and encourage them to join the active ageing programme. The forum makes sure that its participants who have chronic diseases take their medication because it is one of their core mandates to take good care of older people. The North West team need training in proper communication and support management.

Mr Zenzele Mdidimba advocates for young people to conduct themselves responsibly and abstain from drug and alcohol consumption to promote active and healthy ageing. He also urges the community to safeguard and honour the elderly, and to educate themselves about mental illnesses affecting older individuals, thus preventing unfounded accusations of witchcraft. Looking ahead, Mr Zenzele envisions implementing an awareness programme within the team to address mental health issues impacting older people.


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