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Elderly people in Diepsloot were treated to breakfast, lunch and a load of fun for Nelson Mandela Day. They also received gifts of food and blankets.
HUGE smiles lit up the faces of elderly people from Diepsloot, who were treated to a sumptuous Sunday lunch by Joburg’s mayoral committee member for community development, Chris Vondo, on 17 July.


MMC Chris Vondo givesMMC Chris Vondo hands out food parcelsThe seniors, who gathered at the Youth Centre in Extension One, enjoyed lunch with Vondo and local councillors to mark Nelson Mandela Day.

The festivities started at 10am with breakfast and cookies; lunch was served at 1pm. The elders danced to songs from their youth, showing the young Vondo how they used to get down in their prime days.

As they thought the day could not get any better, Vondo surprised them by announcing that every old person who was at the hall would get a blanket and a bag of vegetables.

Elizabeth Mootane from Extension 13 thanked Vondo for remembering where he came from. She also wished Mandela a happy birthday and many more years. “We are happy about this day and I would just like to encourage all of us to continue to gather like this when the government calls us to meetings,” she said.

Vondo promised those who had gathered that the City would not only visit them during election times, but would make frequent trips to see how things were going and what their needs were.

“We will be having conversations with communities so that they play a big role in bettering their own lives.”

He also explained that Nelson Mandela Day should not just be a one day event but rather a way of life. In line with this, his department was committed to developing poor communities.


Tucking into a Sunday lunchTucking into a Sunday lunch“This is a very important day for our elderly people because it reminds them of the role they played in the liberation of our country,” Vondo said. “It also reminds them of Mandela’s great sacrifice.”

He also talked about the reconciliation that still needed to be done in Diepsloot. Residents of the settlement needed to be like Mandela who forgave his persecutors, even though they separated him from his family and people for 27 years.

He was referring to the xenophobia and violence that has marred Dieploot in recent years. The settlement has many residents from other African countries, and locals have claimed that foreigners steal their jobs.

“Unity here in Diepsloot is very important because united we stand but divided we fall,” he said. “We need to work together for further progress.”

Nelson Mandela Day was first celebrated 2009 on Mandela’s birthday. The aim is for people to honour his 67 years of humanity, through spending 67 minutes of their day doing community work for others. Following the success of that first day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day.

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