Grannies from Durban’s KwaMashu team were crowned the 2017 Gogolympics champions at this year’s event which was held on Friday, the 28th April 2017 at the Molweni Sports Ground.
Now in its seventh consecutive year, the Gogolympics is hosted by HACT’s Gogo (Granny) Support Groups Programme and its partners – eThekwini Municipality, the KZN Department of Sports & Recreation, the KZN Department of Health and the Fisher’s Net. The programme currently provides psycho-social support and economic empowerment opportunities to over 2000 grannies across eight communities in the Valley of 1000 Hills region. Many of these grannies are caring for their orphaned grandchildren and or extended family members.
Our gogos train year-round in the lead up to the annual Gogolympics event, helping them to adopt an active and healthy lifestyle which not only benefits them through stress alleviation and improved mobility, but also benefits the many orphaned grandchildren in their care.
The activities on the day kicked off with a fun aerobics workout which was led by some local volunteers from the Molweni Community. Sufficiently warmed up and rearing to go, the gogos competed proceeded to battle it out on the sport field in a range of sports and games including soccer, netball, pass-the-ball, relay races as well as several traditional indigenous games.
With over 1000 gogos participating in the games on the day and a much bigger crowd actively cheering on our gogos, the atmosphere at this year’s event was electric! For the first time in the event’s history, we were delighted to welcome gogo teams from outside the Valley of 1000 Hills region with teams from INK (Inanda Ntuzuma and KwaMashu) joining in our gogos’ fierce rivalry and competition for the top positions on the day.
The HACT team are very excited by this development and the fact that our Gogolympics is starting to attract new participants from other communities across the province. We have long believed that our Gogo Support Groups Programme and its Gogolympics event are both sustainable initiatives that with the buy-in of local gogos, government and other partners have the potential to be replicated in communities across the country where, just like our Programme is doing here in the Valley of 1000 Hills, it can bring hope and relief to thousands of grandmothers who have also lost their children to violence, crime or disease and are now struggling to care for their orphaned grandchildren.
In addition to our new participants from INK, we were further blessed by the involvement of a diaconal volunteer group from De Bilt in the Netherlands who helped us with our Gogolympics planning and preparations on the day and also entered a gogo team of their own to compete against our local gogos. This very hard working and enthusiastic group of volunteers got up at 5am on the morning of the event in order to prepare 2000 sandwiches for our gogos’ lunch!
The oldest gogo who took part in this year’s Gogolympics was 88 year-old Mathilda Shozi from KwaNyuswa. Speaking at the event, Mathilda said:
“I am so excited to be here today. I have participated in all seven Gogolympics events and I like it because it makes me feel happy and healthy. This year I am playing in the netball competition.”
On behalf of the HACT team and all our gogos, we would like to thank the following donors, sponsors and supporters without who this year’s event would not have been possible:
KZN Department of Health
KZN Department of Sports & Recreation
The Fisher’s Net
The DG Murray Trust
Zulu Aid & the Diaconal Volunteer Group from De Bilt
Food for Life – Western Region
Oxford Freshmarket Hillcrest
Bluff Meat Supply Hillcrest
Woolworths Hillcrest Corner
The South African Sports Physiotherapy Special Interest Group
The Vuleka Trust
Hillcrest Chronic Hospital
Councillor M. Sibisi
Councillor T. Shelembe
Councillor P.S Mncube
Councillor M. Mkhize
Please visit our Facebook page for pictures of our gogos in action at our 2017 Gogolympics event!