To honour Mandela Day, which was marked on Monday July 18, Alpine Primary School hosted an event for senior citizens.
At th event held on Thursday, organised by the school’s Soul Buddyz, the knitting clubs and the Run4Schools Foundation, 40 seniors were entertained by the school’s choir and dance group, and given blankets which had been specially knitted for them.
“All these grandparents who are here today are selected by the students,” said principal Pauline Rix.
Co-ordinator of the Soul Buddyz club, Mercia van Wyk, said their objective was to reach out to the community.
“I’m so excited. We wanted to do something for 67 minutes for Mandela Day.
“We’ve been doing it for three years now, but it’s the first time doing it for grandparents. And we are planning to take it to another level next year,” said Ms Van Wyk.
She said the school had outreach and awareness programmes through which they aimed to educate pupils about issues affecting them and society as a whole.
“We want (pupils)to take care of their grandparents and look after them,” she said.
Manager of Run4Schools Foundation, Frank Steyn, said they work with four primary schools in Mitchell’s Plain.
“We focus on physical education and outreach programmes which comprise sports, arts and culture,” he said.
Mr Steyn said the foundation’s local chapter was established 12 years ago at Alpine Primary.
“The foundation is based in the Netherlands and its first branch in Cape Town was established in Mitchell’s Plain at Alpine Primary School.
“We are working with another three primary schools, including Tafelsig, Northwood and Caradale. Our vision is to make an impact on the communities in Mitchell’s Plain,” said Mr Steyn.
“Our plan is to reach other areas, not only Mitchell’s Plain. And our plan for next year is to take all the elders to picnic and enjoy themselves,” he said.
Turning to the serious issue of elder abuse, Mr Steyn said: “Children must stop harassing their grandparents. You’ll find that some grandparents suffer loneliness (because) their grandchildren leave them alone or are abusing them. They must take care of them,” he urged.
Mariam Wilson, 77, from Tafelsig, said she had a great time at the event.
“It’s my first time attending such a great event. We enjoyed ourselves without disturbance. It’s just us (elders) chatting to each other. No children,” said Ms Wilson.
Gorei Majet, 74, from Beacon Valley thanked the organisers for the treatment and nice food they received.
On the topic of Mandela Day, Ms Majet described Nelson Mandela as a pioneer.
“Mandela fought for us all to be where we are today. He was a freedom fighter. He was the father of the nation.”