Every October senior citizens around the world are honoured for their contribution to humanity.
In 1990 the United Nations declared 1 October as International Day of Older Persons.
This year it is commemorated under the theme ‘Stepping into the future: tapping the talents, contributions and participation of older persons in society’.
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe led national celebrations in Tshwane recently at Noma Day Care Centre in Ga-Rankuwa.
“Senior citizens remain the treasure trove of our society… I am humbled by the fact that the theme for this year encourages all of us to look into the talents, contributions and participation of senior citizens,” said the Minister.
The aim of the day is to promote the development of a society for all ages without the exclusion of older persons. Minister Radebe said government commemorates this day as a way to teach South Africans, particularly the youth, to always take good care of senior citizens.
The Minister encouraged South Africans to reach out to communities and raise awareness about senior citizens’ rights.
Minister Radebe was accompanied by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.
Minister Dlamini said the Department of Social Development has identified the month of October to reach out, meet and interact with the poor citizens of South Africa, especially those who live in rural communities.
“This is conducted in the context of government’s vision of addressing the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and the month will be guided by the theme ‘Working Together to Build Caring and Sustainable Communities for All.’
“This campaign will be taking place through the efforts of the department in collaboration with its entities, the South African Social Security Agency and the National Development Agency. It will be done as part of government’s initiative to restore the dignity of our people throughout the month of October and beyond.”
The celebration of elderly people coincided with the launch of Social Development Month.
"This month we focus on profiling the work done by the department. We will also align it with the life of Oliver Tambo, whose life we are celebrating this year. We will also be holding the Golden Games for Older Persons, as well as children’s programmes,” said Minister Dlamini.