Offering hope in times of need

2017-04-18 06:01

THE Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (Hact) is a multifaceted, holistic HIV/Aids project that provides love and hope to all impacted by HIV/Aids.

They have many poverty alleviation and income generation projects that many in the community are proud to be a part of.

One such community member is Sebenzani Mbanda from KwaNyuswa. The 55-year-old is the sole provider for her four children and five grandchildren. She joined the Hact Gogo Support Group in 2007. In 2011 her husband died.

“I was really struggling. The grief of losing my husband and the stress of how I was going to take care of and feed all of them was just too much, but the group helped me to heal because we share all our problems,” said Mbanda.

Faced with the financial burden of caring for her family, Mbanda joined in the group’s weekly activities including its community vegetable garden and beading circle which makes and sells traditional beaded jewellery and other items.

It’s through these activities that Mbanda now supports and provides for her family.

“All of my children are unemployed and I am too young to get a pension,” says Mbanda.

“I sell the vegetables we grow in the garden as well as the jewellery I make and with this I buy food and pay school fees.”

Today Mbanda is the leader of the gogo support group in her community. She and her 20-member support group, who range in age from 55 to 72, are also training for Hact’s seventh annual Gogolympics.

The event is taking place on Friday, April 28 at the Molweni Sports Ground where over 1000 grannies from the organisation’s Gogo Support Groups Programme will compete in soccer, netball and traditional games.

“We are very excited to be part of the Gogolympics once again this year. We are working hard to be in the best shape for the games and as of this month, we practice on Tuesday and Friday mornings. We are planning to compete in soccer and netball and are confident we will win most of our games.”

Her involvement in this sporting event has made an enormous difference to both her physical and mental health she says.

“The weekly training we do is hard work, but I am much fitter and stronger now because of it and my children tell me I am happier on the days I’ve been to training,” she said.

Mbanda says she can’t believe how far she has come and how her grief and despair has turned into hope for her and that of her children and grandchildren.

For more information on Hact’s Gogolympics and the gogo support group programme, visit

All of my children are unemployed and I am too young to get a pension. I sell the vegetables we grow in the garden as well as the jewellery I make and with this I buy food and pay school fees.

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