Gogos spread their 2010 knitting magic

2010-06-04 15:18

Over 500 jobs have been created across South Africa through the

Gogo Magic initiative, which encourages unemployed women to get knitting for the

2010 Fifa World Cup.

Thousands of fan beanies have already been knitted by gogos from

Meadowlands in Soweto, Tembisa and Vosloorus in Ekurhuleni, and Polokwane in

Limpopo and will be delivered to underprivileged children as the winter season

– and the soccer fever – hit South Africa.

The women gathered yesterday at Melrose Arch in north Johannesburg

to knit and encourage others to get involved.

Mike Walker, founder of the Gogo Trust, said they had ploughed

R1 million back into the community to date.

“The great thing about this is that

it goes directly to the community.”

The knitting women earn R50 for each beanie.

Walker’s grandmother, Pat van der Merwe (82), affectionately known

to the knitting team of over 500 women as “Gogo”, taught the other women how to

use a set of knitting needles.

“Gogo was so patient,” said Maria van der Merwe, a Vosloorus

resident who learnt knitting in February. “I had to start over seven or 10

times.”

“Gogo” said: “It’s been wonderful. I drive around and get horribly

distressed by the women standing on the streets with babies on their backs. God

gave us hands not to beg, but to use them and that is what knitting is.”

Maria, who lives with her 72-year-old mother and is unemployed,

said the money brought in by knitting beanies has “helped a lot”. “It (knitting)

keeps me busy and makes me happy. I forget about my problems. This is a lesson

to the young ones.”

Thandi Mazinyane, who lives with her son and four grandchildren in

Meadowlands, joined the project in April. So far she makes two beanies a

day.

“I don’t have time to stand in the street and make noise now,” she

said laughing.

Gogo Trust and M-Net Magic Cares founded Gogo Magic, with the

slogan, “Every stitch counts”, as a way to create employment for women.

A total of 14 000 beanies have been knitted so far.

Gogo Magic aims

to reach 19 000 by the end of the World Cup on July 11.

The so-called Gogo Park will be based at Melrose Arch for this

month of June, where the public can contribute to the knitting of the world’s

longest scarf or browse through country selections of Gogo Magic beanies.

A caravan is also made available to carry this team of gogos around

the country during the World Cup, visiting communities and selling

beanies.



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