Ikamva Labantu’s festive Cultural Day took place on Friday, 28th October. The Non-Profits annual gathering was held at the Guguletu Sports Complex on the corner of NY 1 and NY 2. This colourful event is always a major highlight for local senior citizens, and this was particularly apparent after enduring the isolation that Covid brought to many over the past two years.
Cultural Day once again turned out to be a vibrant, fun affair. It started with a 500m walk, led by a group of senior drum majorettes followed by each senior citizen’s club displaying their flag. This walk always attracts a lot of community interest, with young and old coming out to sing and dance alongside the seniors as they marched.
Cultural Day serves to create awareness in the community about the value of senior citizens, and for the community to see them in a new light – as independent, confident people who have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. As such, seniors love the event, and look forward to attending it.
The desperate plight of the elderly often goes unnoticed, and Ikamva Labantu’s celebratory Cultural Day gives everyone a chance to standout and be noticed. It also wraps up October’s Older Persons Month, where elders from all their 21 senior clubs congregate in traditional attire and revel in their culture and heritage.
Dambile Kompela, a Masithandane Senior Citizens’ Club member comments: “This is a very important day to the Xhosa nation as we are reminded of where we come from. We have to keep our traditions; ubuntu, and loving one another -as you can see in the name of our club ‘Masithandane’, meaning let’s love one another.”
Monwabisi Cuncu, a Masibambane Senior Citizens’ Club member concurs: “Yes, this event is important – it reminds us about our culture and the way we grew up. As you can see our colourful outfits and the African food. We are proudly wearing our traditional attires and beaded jewellery. You hardly see that these days as everyone wants to look modern. Cultural Day reminds us of the olden days.”
The goal of Ikamva Labantu’s Senior Citizens’ Programme is to support seniors to actively live out their golden years with dignity, improved health, safety, and a sense of belonging and value in their communities for as long as possible.
Based on the provisions of Chapter 2 of the Older Persons Act, 2006, it aims to create an enabling environment for older persons – one of the guiding principles being that services must be provided in an environment that recognises the social, cultural, and economic contribution of older persons. This sentiment is reiterated in Chapter 3, where community-based care and support services for seniors should target spiritual, cultural, medical, civic, and social services.
One of the speakers at Friday’s showcase, Barbara Stemmert, Head of Programmes at Ikamva Labantu said: “The event is about celebrating the mamas and tatas and to say thank you for all you do for your families in your home. Thank you for your wisdom and guidance you offer to us and in your home. You work hard to give income back to our children and grandchildren. Thank you!”
Fundraising and Marketing Manager, Nozipho Tsikirayi concluded, “One of the most vibrant and joyful highlights of the year at Ikamva Labantu is our Seniors’ Cultural Day, where everyone wears their traditional regalia and celebrates their cultural roots. The temporary closure of our Seniors’ Clubs due to COVID-19 meant that Cultural Day couldn’t take place for the last two years. As such, the seniors were delighted to be able to see one another again, attend the seniors’ clubs and be a part of this event.”