Proving that age is just a number, around 4 000 senior citizens from around Cape Town flexed their muscles, danced or at least cheered at the Games for Older Persons on Monday.
Clubs and organisations for older persons filled the stands of the Green Point Athletics Stadium to enjoy a day filled with field and track activities, music and dance.
According to officials, roughly 60% of attendees participate in the events and the remainder spectate and support their clubs and organisations.
Participants, aged 60 years and older, took to the track and field to compete in events and activities such as basketball, duck walk, brisk walk, bowl-a-hole, wheelchair pegging and French Boules to name but a few activities.
Moeriga Petersen, secretary of Club Leisure Seniors, told News24 that her organisation and its members were at the games to “enjoy ourselves and dance and sing”. She added that ”we feel good that [the] City did this and [we’re] very happy to be here”.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato, who attended the games, said: “We need to cherish our older persons. They are trailblazers who have made many sacrifices that paved the way for others to enjoy freedoms and privileges that were not always available to everyone”.
The event, hosted by the City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department, forms part of the City of Cape Town’s aims to raise awareness about services available to elderly persons and promote healthy living and active ageing.
Zaahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, explained that “there are two purposes to today. The most important one is that we’ve come together to enjoy ourselves through sporting activities.
“We’re going to get the grannies’ and grandpas’ hearts pumping full of excitement this afternoon but the other important part of today’s programme is bringing in the facilities and opportunities that we as a City have made available through our different infrastructures.”
He continued: ”One of the most important opportunities we have today is our clinic facilities. We’ll be able to share with the community members what we’re able to offer in terms of our personal primary health care that we have available.”
Echoing sentiments from the mayor, Badroodien added that “to be able to bring our elderly together in such a way where we say ‘guys, you are important as the backbone of our society’ is another way of us being able to say thank you for giving large parts of who you are to make sure that the younger generation is a safer generation.”
“The City has brought this wonderful group of people together this afternoon, one of the most important parts of our community, our elderly, who spend a lot of time doing very good work, looking after our children, looking after our communities and today it’s all about them”.
“We’ve given them the space to be who they are, to do some exercise, to access some of the facilities we’ve made available to them across the city. We’ve brought it all together so today, it’s all about them,” Badroodien added.