WATCH: Cape Town woman, 77, dazzles older persons games with her dance moves

2018-04-03 18:23
Pauline van der Rheede dazzling the crowd. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Pauline van der Rheede dazzling the crowd. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Showing off dance moves that would put teenagers to shame, 77-year-old Pauline van der Rheede dazzled the crowd ahead of the Cape Town Games for Older Persons on Tuesday.

"I've still got the beat," she said, flashing a cheeky smile as she dropped her body to the floor, rose up again and gyrated her hips on the track of the Green Point Athletics Stadium.

The stadium, which slowly filled up with an expected 4 200 participants from around Cape Town, cheered her on and clapped when she took a bow.

Volunteers from False Bay College watched in awe from the sidelines and one young woman, who was so inspired by Pauline, joined in.

"I am always the one who likes to bring the fun out," the sprightly Hanover Park resident explained.

"It doesn't matter what type of music, I am on the floor."

Not even a little breathless, Pauline bounded up to the top of the bandstand to join the rest of the members of the Lansport Seniors Club.

Founded in 1980, the members of the group consider themselves the "prime entertainers" of the city and have been kept very busy performing opening dances for different events, including fundraising drives and children's talent shows.

The club does not charge a fee, but it accepts donations.

Pauline's friend, who identified herself only as Maud, 68, donned a bright red and yellow Kaapse Klopse outfit.

She said her outfit was for one of the club's four dance routines, "Welcome to Cape Town".

Their repertoire also included the African dance, the Lily dance in formal black-and-white attire, and the Proudly South African dance, in which they waved the national flag.

Pauline fondly recalled her younger years in District Six and how she and others used to dance all the time.

She said her three sons worried about her health and wanted her to bow out.

"The ladies at the club said: 'If you quit, we will come and fetch you!'"

She said the secret to her energy and happiness was to help others.

"I am not good with educational stuff, but I help the children in the streets. My secret is just to be with needy people and reach out to them."

About 60% of the crowd would participate in the field and track events at Tuesday's games, with the remainder supporting their club members from the sidelines.

All participants were older than 60.

The City of Cape Town's aim with the annual event is to encourage healthy living and active ageing.

Participants are also encouraged to make use of the health screening tests on site.

The games included a brisk walking event, a dress-up race (where runners put on items of clothing at different stages) and an event where players had to throw four rubber rings into a small hoop on the ground.

As the brisk walk got under way mid-morning, participants used different techniques. Some flapped their arms like birds to gain more momentum, while others stuck their bums out and leaned forward.

Shouts of "running" could be heard from the crowd when some participants got a bit overeager and stretched the rules.

In a rules leaflet, the City said that the games were meant to be recreational, not competitive.

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