Gogos spoiled on fun days

2017-02-22 06:00
Thokozile Matyokane who initiated the Gogo on Tour initiative six years ago.

Thokozile Matyokane who initiated the Gogo on Tour initiative six years ago.

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Elderly people recently enjoyed full-body massages after fun-filled days of touring around Kimberley.

They were taken on board as part of the two-day Gogo on Tour initiative, which took place on Wednesday (15/02) and Thursday (16/02).

The Northern Cape men and women, mostly between 60 and 90 years, were pampered with spa treatments to clean their bodies of toxins and to relieve stress.

The first day’s programme included a tour at the Big Hole, a tram ride and a tour of the Mining Museum, before they checked into a hotel and dressed up for a gala evening.

On the second day they had a relaxing time at the Galeshewe swimming pool.

According to Diana Martins of the Department of Tourism, the massages would help the elderly people’s muscles to move easier.

“It serves as an anti-stiffness solution,” she said.

One of the gogos, Gladys Louw (76), was in her own world during her massage.

“It feels good. In our culture we do not really take massage sessions seriously. These professional therapists managed to reach the stiff muscles.

“It feels a bit sore, or the real description is uncomfortable, because my body is tense. I am sure I will have a good night’s sleep,” she said.

According to the initiator and founder of Gogo on Tour, Thokozile Matyokane, the initiative involved gogos in all nine provinces and had been in existence for six years.

She said they were running the tours for the elderly people in partnership with the Department of Tourism and Siyavaya Tours.

Matyokane told Express Northern Cape that she was a nun, a teacher, a nurse, a community developer, a South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) representative, a councillor and an entrepreneur who had owned a bakery at some stage.

Born in Mpumalanga, she is now based in Soshanguve.

Elaborating on the initiative, she said she had started off with five gogos, whom she sponsored, and went on tour with them.

She said the initiative had experienced tremendous growth throughout the years.

Her biggest dream is to build “a very nice and decent” old age home where the elderly will have freedom to move around, be secure and have a chapel.

“That way I will also be able to create jobs,” said Matyokane.

She said she was disappointed by the state of the Gaasca Old Age Home in Galeshewe.

“That place has a lot of potential and space. I cannot believe that the Northern Cape government and the municipality allowed it to end up in such a state.

“I was truly disappointed that there is such a lack of wisdom, as this place can make a difference in the lives of many elderly people.”

A local tourist company, Native Minds, was also involved in the project.

“The aim is to motivate the gogos, who mostly have nothing to do but stay at home. Most are still mobile and can travel, and most importantly, it is good if they can learn more about the province,” said Matyokane.

Sonto Mbonambi, director of Siyavaya Tours, added that it was not too late for the elderly to travel.

“We want to show them that it is possible to travel at their age, whether alone or in a group. They qualify as long as they are mobile,” she said.

On her time spent with the elderly, Mbonambi said it was fun-filled and humbling to see them all happy.

Amongst the activities were dancing, networking and taking to the stage to perform.

She said the team travelled with nurses and other practitioners in case an emergency occurred.

The Northern Cape, experiencing the event for the first time, was the seventh province to take part this year.

Boitumelo Phiri of Native Minds said he was humbled to handle the Northern Cape leg of the itinenary.

According to him, the event was a success as it created a memorable experience.

Mary Sebego, the founder of the Bophelong Old Age Home in Chris Hani, said she was inspired to do more for the elderly.

It feels good to see that they realise that they are acknowledged and not forgotten, she said.

She accompanied a group of elderly people of her centre during the event.

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