Gogos go home singing as Blade spreads cheer in Dambuza

2011-01-03 00:00

CHRISTMAS came a little late for the grannies and grandpas of Dambuza courtesy of their homeboy, Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande.

The minister was in the suburb on Thursday to distribute food hampers to the elderly and the needy in honour of a Christmas tradition initiated four years ago under the auspices of the Dambuza Community Development Trust (Damcom) of which Nzimande is a founding member.

The annual handout is big event for the elderly, some of whom pitch up as early as 4 am.

Every year, Nzimande, who is a regular visitor to the community, delivers a speech and greets the people who he says helped to raise him as a young boy. He told his guests,“I remember as young kids how we used to go from house to house looking for Christmas goodies. And we were served jellies and the sorts. Now it is pay-back time.”

The beneficiaries are child-headed households and the disabled.

Mandla Mthethwa, Damcom chairperson, said this year they were able to give food to more than 1 200 households, 300 more than last year.

“Every year we get a little better. We were able to increase the list of our recipients, but as you can see it is not enough. There are still a lot of people outside wanting food.“We really believe that by feeding the gogos, you feed the community because they are the ones left with the orphaned grandchildren.”

The planning this year also improved. The elderly did not have to line up for their food hampers as they had in the past, and they were served meals where they were seated.

Mthethwa said, “As you will notice, this year the food parcels are already in pockets to make it easier to carry. What we also did this year was to divide Ward 21 into 10 areas with 12 people in each team.

“They were responsible for identifying those in need based on those who are 60 years old and above, those who are physically challenged and the orphaned.”

This year, beneficiaries were tested for chronic ailments such as diabetes and Aids by staff from Edendale Hospital.

Gogos were in high spirits as they made their way home. They could be seen in groups, singing while balancing their goodie packs on their heads.

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