AgEing gracefully

expedition: The Sisonke Senior Citizens Club took a break from charity work to play tourists at Orlando East's famous Vilakazi Street as part of their festive season celebrations.
expedition: The Sisonke Senior Citizens Club took a break from charity work to play tourists at Orlando East's famous Vilakazi Street as part of their festive season celebrations.

Mama Angel spent a wonderful afternoon with the old ladies of the Sisonke Senior Citizens Club.

Mama Angel spent a wonderful afternoon with the old ladies of the Sisonke Senior Citizens Club.

The members, all retired grannies from Orlando East, were attending a dinner sponsored by Sowetan at Sakhumzi Restaurant in Vilakazi Street, Orlando East.

Vilakazi Street is famous for the homes of two South African Nobel Laureates, former president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Sisonke members wanted to dine in the famous restaurant, which they had read about in newspapers.

"We live here in Orlando but we have never been to this famous place," said one granny.

Sisonke is a supporter of the Orlando Hospice. They design and make jewellery from beads, sew African designs and knit jerseys that are sold to the public. The proceeds then used to buy toiletries and bedding for the hospice.

"We go there often to pray for the sick, visit those who have no relatives coming to see them, and generally trying to cheer up the patients," another granny said.

The members also visit bedridden people in their homes. They coordinate with other groups in the area to promote a spirit of unity and peace in the area.

Ruth Bomvana, a previous runner-up in the Sowetan Women's Club Award and founder of the hospice, said: "We cannot sit at home waiting for ... God knows what.

"We keep ourselves busy. I cannot follow the sun around my home. I still help with fund-raising for the hospice, which I founded years ago. I recently got a big company to donate a minibus for transporting patients to the clinic."

Sisonke also collects used clothing and uniforms for orphans in their areas. They also distribute food to cancer sufferers.

Indeed, these elderly citizens display a keen interest in their community and use their experience to help the less privileged.

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