Over 1000 grandmothers across the Valley of 1000 Hills are currently in training for the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust’s 8th annual Gogolympics event which is set to take place on Friday, the 20th April 2018 at the Molweni Sports Ground. First conceptualized in 2011, the Gogolympics is hosted every year by HACT’s Gogo (Granny) Support Groups Programme in partnership with eThekwini Municipality, the Department of Health and the KZN Department of Sports & Recreation.
One such granny is 72 year-old Mavis Mbhele (pictured below) from KwaNyuswa who is adamant that her soccer team are going to win this year’s Gogolympics title. For the past three months, Mavis and her gogo support group team members have been practicing every Saturday and she says it’s their grandchildren, who often play with them, who have given them the motivation to compete. “It’s always a lot of fun playing with our grandchildren, though they are young and strong, so they always beat us,” says a laughing Mavis.
Mavis describes her five grandchildren as the light of her life and it’s because of them that she first became involved with HACT’s Gogo Support Groups programme over seven years ago. “I lost one of my children and two are currently working away from home, so looking after my grandchildren is my main concern now,” explains Mavis. She says that through HACT’s Gogos Support Groups programme, she has learnt to deal with the grief of losing her child as well as how to help take better care of her grandchildren through parenting skills courses offered by the Centre.
As for the Gogolympics, Mavis, who currently plays goal keeper for her team, says competing in the annual event has helped her to stay fit and healthy. Two years ago, Mavis even got the chance to compete in the national Golden Games in Newcastle where she competed against grandmothers from across the province. For now though, Mavis has just got her sights set on beating the team from KwaMashu who were crowned last year’s Gogolympics champions. “We are coming for them,” says Mavis, “we will lift that trophy and bring it home again where it belongs!”
If you would also like to get involved by attending and or supporting this year’s Gogolympics event, please contact HACT’s Marketing & Fundraising Department on 031 765 5866 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org