Mbombela:- Having woken up to persistent drizzle, which had dampened the football pitches, the older persons  soccer players did not allow the slippery weather conditions to dampen their spirits as they held steadfast to the purpose of the games.


Noting the lateness of the hour, four teams took to the ground simultaneously, with North West facing Kwa Zulu Natal and Gauteng tested the resolve of  Limpopo.


The highly reduced half from the universal 45 minutes to 25 minutes promised to offer entertainment and thrills galore.


In these games, results are never top of the agenda, but the wellness of the golden oldies was the only priority.


President Cyril Ramaphosa during his SONA in February announced that the lifespan of South Afrca has increased from 54 years to 65, showing the results of the progressive policies of the democratic government.


An increased lifespan calls for the country to plan for an ageing population and reduce the burden of disease.


The national department of social development is hosting a two-day sporting festival in Mbombela, preaching active ageing.


The town has been abuzz with the grey head, full of pearls of wisdom. They stretched their limbs to keep non-communicable ailments at bay. 


Football was not only being played by men,  female  teams were breaking sweat for the same purpose.


Active ageing is continuing to build social cohesion while restoring the dignity and rights of older persons.


Not only were the older persons playing on the sporting field, others were in dialogue with political leaders and government officials, telling them first-hand how they received services and how the  Older Persons Act was implemented.


Leaving nothing behind, the older persons told Minister Lindiwe Zulu and the MECs of social development the following:


  1. They need access to older persons diapers
  2. Dignity when collecting their grants
  3. No queues when collecting their medication
  4. An end to the means test on the old age grant
  5. Increased home based care
  6. Protection against communities who kill them accusing them of witchcraft while they have dementia.
  7. Decent housing
  8. They were at pains describing to Minister how they were turned away by departments for funding due to their age while they have a passion for farming and agriculture
  9. They appealed to the Minister of police when segregating the crime statistics that he must single out the sexual violence against older persons.
  10. They asked from the Minister of justice and correctional services to assist them by making the courts more friendly and dignified.

While they spoke of their challenges, older persons were very appreciative of what in the last 30 years, the democratic government has done for them.


Those who could not join in the sporting activities, they showcased their talents through music and dance.


Minister Zulu responded and said: “The Active Ageing Programme is one of the key highlights on the DSD calendar as it brings together older persons across the country in a spirit of solidarity and friendship. This year‘a active ageing programme coincides with the National Human Rights month in order for the importance of the human rights of older persons to be protected. In our country the population of older persons is steadily growing owing to the increase in life expectancy and we must continue to advocate for their rights.”


Minister Zulu was joined by the MECs of social development from the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.


The program continues tomorrow at Hoerskool Nelspruit from 8:00.


The proceedings will be live on www.dsdtv.org.za AND for more stories on www.dsdnews.org.za




Media enquiries may be directed to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.