A group of elderly women in Freedom Park started a gogo’s club in September last year in hopes that it would help the elderly in the area to come together to socialise and to help them keep busy, healthy and active.
According to community leader, Thabiso Rakomane, the club is a registered entity and is formally known as the Setlhareng Gogokhule Centre (SGC).
The gogos have big dreams for their club but it seems unattainable because they do not have shelter for their weekly gatherings.
“We started this club because the elderly in our community did not really have anything to do, instead we sat at home and aged even more.
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“We used to attend gatherings at an elderly club in Siyaya but decided to start our own club because travelling far distances became too much for all of us. We wanted to start something close to home,” said SGC chairperson, Othelia Mazibuko.
Since founding the club last year, the seniors held their weekly gatherings under a tree in an open veld in Freedom Park. The gogos, with the help of Rakomane, approached the ward councillor and requested assistance in finding a building for their social gatherings, but nothing tangible has transpired and they remain without a roof over their heads.
A few weeks ago the gogo’s decided to take matters into their own hands by cleaning up a vacant field in the township.
“We chose to clean up this specific place because it was left vacant and our youngsters used it to smoke and do bad things. We needed a secure place, at least a place with a fence,” said Mazibuko.
She added that the ladies have started building a shack with leftover materials from each of their homes.
“As much as we are eager to build a place for us, we simply cannot do it by ourselves, the building material is heavy and we are old,” she said.
Rakomane said that he was appealing to the councillor and the City of Johannesburg to help the women find a place for their club.
“We ask for these officials to come to Freedom Park to see how these ladies struggle every day, the elderly want to help the community. They want to start knitting, making jewellery and hosting cultural events. This club will benefit the community” he said.
Ward 119 councillor, Oupa Ngwenya, said that he has attended a number of their meetings and is willing to assist as much as he can.
“We cannot allow these ladies to erect a shack themselves and we also need to be realistic. Is there money to have a building erected for them? I don’t know, but I will try to assist,” said Ngwenya.
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