It was a day of celebration and jubilation last Friday as HACT’s Gogo Support Groups programme held its annual Gogo of the Year event at a packed community Hall in Inchanga in the Valley of 1000 Hills. Dressed in their finest traditional attire, over 400 gogos representing HACT’s 58 gogo support groups joined local residents and stakeholders in honouring those gogos who are leading the fight against HIV/AIDS, poverty and unemployment in their communities.
The event was opened in prayer by VIP guest, Mrs Angie Zuma from the Premier’s Office followed by a warm welcoming address by local Ward Councillor Nxumalo. This year’s competition was stiff, with over twenty local grandmothers nominated for the coveted title of 2017 “Gogo of the Year”. However, this year’s winner was 60 year-old, Bonisile Majola from the Khutalani Support Group in KwaNyuswa whose hard work and determination to uplift other local gogos in her community through sewing, impressed the judges and ensured she walked away with the winning title. “I’m very happy” beamed a very humble Bonisile upon accepting her prize, “This is the result of a lot of hard work.”
The winner of the 2017 “Gogo Support Group of the Year” title was HACT’s Masisizani “we help each other” gogo support group who are also from KwaNyuswa. Ranging in age from 45 to 87 years-old, this 12 member group of fighting fit grannies have thus far built 15 houses for local families in need through their concrete block making enterprise.
In describing the group’s incredible achievement, HACT’s Gogo Support Groups Manager, Cwengi Myeni said “These grannies are an inspiration to us all and an example to our young people that through hard work and commitment, you can change your life and help create a brighter future for yourself and others. ”
Combatting poverty, strengthening families and uplifting families impacted by HIV/AIDS through economic empowerment and enterprise development is an increasingly big focus for HACT’s many programmes and services and one that the organisation is appealing to local companies and the community to support this World AIDS Day.
“So many of the individuals and families we work with on a daily basis are battling crippling poverty” explains HACT’s CEO, Candace Davidson, “a crucial component of our work is therefore to find ways of giving these families hope through practical skills development training and support. Just this week for instance, we are assisting several of our local granny groups from Molweni who have micro-businesses, to register as co-operatives with the Department of Economic Development.”
For more information on HACT’s Gogo Support Groups programme, please click here.