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January 2021 edition

Zamokuhle assists gogos in need

Written by: Allison Cooper

Singing, laughter and the clinking of teacups are often heard at the Thembalami Care Centre when the Zamokuhle Gogos get together. Zamokuhle beneficiary Victoria Smith and social worker student Makgati Legodi have a look at the latest teddies knitted by the gogos.

Thembalami Care Centre has been bringing warmth and happiness to the lives of Alexandra and River Park elders for over a decade, through its Zamokuhle outreach programme.

Situated in Lombardy East outside of Johannesburg, Thembalami launched the Zamokuhle outreach programme in 2009. 

Zamokuhle, meaning
‘ Strive for the good’ in Zulu/Xhosa, was funded in full by Rand Aid, itself a non-profit organisation, for five years. Government funding was then sourced to help subsidise the initiative, which has enabled Thembalami to expand the programme and invite additional elders to benefit.

“Three days a week, elders – now fondly known as the Zamokuhle Gogos – come to the care centre to learn a variety of handcrafts, like knitting and crocheting. They also enjoy breakfast, morning tea and lunch and benefit from health and social awareness initiatives,” says Ayanda Matthews, GM Compliance and Social React Division at Rand Aid.

The programme also empowers participants about elders’ rights, via a monthly abuse awareness programme; assists with problems the participant may be experiencing; and provides education about ageing and chronic diseases faced by the elderly, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

“The purpose of the programme is to keep the gogos in the community for as long as possible and to keep them independent and active,” says Matthews.

“The gogos in turn give back to the community, by knitting teddies for children and tackling other community projects,” she adds. 

Thembalami, which has 114 beds of which 75 are partially subsidised by government, looks after people who are either physically or mentally frail, or both, and who are in dire need of 24-hour frail care. 

For more information about Thembalami and the Zamokuhle outreach programme, contact the care centre at 010 534 8771.