Storytelling from PADCA’s Seniors

The vast majority of us are fortunate to have older people around us, whether they’re family, friends, just general acquaintances or those entrusted in our care. Older people are fonts of wisdom, experience, and storytelling. Some of our fondest childhood memories stem from our grandparents’ storytelling whether true, fictional or folktale. These stories can be deeply satisfying something for us to remember for the rest of our lives. They are often poignant, meaningful and full of interesting characters – these stories become intergenerational as we often pass them on to our own children.

The first week in October in South Africa is commemorated as National Older Persons Week and this coincides with PADCA’s “Go Blue” campaign which spans the duration of the month, and seeks to promote the human rights of older adults and encourage healthy and active ageing. Each year a new theme is introduced and this year it falls on the resilience and contributions of older women. While older women continue to meaningfully contribute to their political, civil, economic, social and cultural lives; their contributions and experiences remain largely invisible and disregarded. The theme therefore is a reminder of the significant role older women play in overcoming the challenges they encounter and the contributions they make to society, their communities and even the country. Their voices need to be heard, and their accomplishments need to be showcased and celebrated. At PADCA we are privileged to have such women under our umbrella. We are therefore giving them the opportunity to share their stories, highlighting their hardships and struggles in overcoming adversity as well as their outstanding contributions.

Mrs. Maphumulo is a member of the Thamboville social club. During the apartheid era the people of Thamboville sadly lost land belonging to them which was then used by others for farming. In an attempt to reclaim this land and return it to the rightful landowners, she was advised to and subsequently joined the Land Reclaim Committee. This initiative was largely against her husband’s approval however, her passion and commitment to ensure that justice was served meant that she still persisted in her cause. Between 1990 and 1994 through her and the other committee members’ efforts, the land was eventually returned to the people of Thamboville and they began building their homes. In 1999 the Msunduzi Municipality ensured that they were supplied with water and electricity making their lives more comfortable. In 2015, Mrs. Maphumulo was recognized by the South African National Civic Organization (SANCO) and the well-known NGO Gift of the Givers.

PADCA acknowledges the valuable contributions of Mrs. Maphumulo, her courage and fearless efforts are exemplary. We also thank her for sharing her story with us. Recognizing the vital contributions of older women and promoting the inclusion of their voices, perspectives and needs are critical to creating meaningful policies which seeks to enhance the protection of older persons’ human rights.

Thuthuka Mathe (PADCA Social Worker)
& Nevashni Chetty (PADCA Social Work Manager)