New home for Masi seniors’ club

Members of the Care Company, the Yizani Sibonisane Seniors Club and Sosebenza in the Sosebenza hall. From left, are Care Company community project manager Yusra Davis, Yizani Sibonisane Seniors’ Club project manager Thabisa Manyase, Sosebenza facilitator Oscar Thetha, Sosebenza chairman Lefty Notshoba and Care Company social facilitator Nancy Mutshesi. Back: Sosebenza volunteer Thabang Phatshwane, Care Company founder and director Jonathan Mills, Care Company community team leader Terence Daniels and Jupiter the dog.

The Yizani Sibonisane Seniors’ Club has found a new home after running out of a garage for almost two years during lockdown.

The club, a registered NPO, was founded in 2015. It’s a place where the elderly in Masiphumelele can grab a meal, join activities and socialise.

The club used the Masiphumelele community hall before the pandemic, but since lockdown, in March 2020, the hall has been unavailable.

However, a collaboration between two NPOs, the Care Company and Sosebenza, has opened a new door for the club.

The Care Company delivers home-based care for the elderly across the Western Cape and Gauteng, and Sosebenza is a training centre for Masiphumelele’s youth.

Seniors’ club project manager Thabisa Manyase said the Care Company’s founder and chairman, Jonathan Mills, had contacted her in 2018 after seeing one of her Facebook posts.

“He made contact and asked what we do and how he could help,” she said.

The club is self-funded and members contribute R30 a month to supplement donations for food and equipment.

Ms Manyase does the fund-raising herself. She said that Mr Mills was always there to assist if more food or equipment was needed.

The Care Company has donated a laptop to the club, and through its annual bowls-for-a-bus fund-raiser, it bought the club a Kombi in 2020.

The club operates Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm and has about 150 members. There are breakfasts and workshops that include sewing, knitting, beading, exercises, and gardening.

Mr Mills said that during a recent visit to Sosebenza he had noticed they had a hall that was not in use. It was the perfect meeting place for the seniors’ club but it was in need of some maintenance, which the Care Company was willing to do.

“We needed a hall for the seniors’ club, and they had a hall that needed some maintenance, so it was a win-win situation for everyone,” he said

The Care Company has since had the toilet repaired and the taps replaced.

Sosebenza chairman Lefty Notshoba said that they had been trying to make the hall an inviting space for all for a while now, and the help from the Care Company was “very much needed”.

“The centre will be more attractive, and it will be more inviting to people from the outside. This is proof that projects in Masiphumelele can succeed,” he said.

Joyce Mpambani, 76, has been a member of the seniors’ club for six years. She enjoyed sewing and had met many new people through the club, she said. “We’ve been making tablecloths, pinafores, and knitting hats.”

She was looking forward to being more active again, she said, because the garage they had been using since the start of Covid was too small for exercises.

Mr Mills said the Care Company planned to pave the front entrance to the hall to make it more accessible for the elderly. In addition to paving, he said, the club needed tables and chairs, a carpet, kitchen equipment, paint, and brushes as well as general building equipment.

Visit or call Mr Mills at 079 017 9428 for more information.