Care centre embraces diversity
Ron Smith Care Centre hosted a Heritage Day Bring and Share Braai on Friday, September 25. Staff members and residents were asked to bring and share a dish representative of their culture and to wear traditional clothes or something symbolic of their heritage. This request was enthusiastically answered, with bright clothing and cheer characterising the day. Staff of the Rand Aid Association-run care centre organised a programme of entertainment that included traditional singing and dancing and Wayne Wilmot of Sovereign Construction, a loyal support of Rand Aid and its complexes, sponsored a major portion of the braai.
Hilda Mabaso made a wonderful master of ceremonies.
Resident Gwen Jennings and care worker Faith Nogabe dressed the part.
The tables reflected South Africa’s cultural diversity.
Jason Wills, Leanie Bessinger and Matron Avril Maltman man the braai fires.
Ellen Ntombela , Beauty Mohale, Isabella Pirie enjoy the day out.
Dancing energetically is Priscilla Dlamini, a private care worker.
Odette Matamba with her sisters make up the Congolese Dance Tribe.
LETTERS FROM RESIDENTS
Heritage Day a colourful affair at Elphin Lodge
By Wendy and Karl Köhler, Elphin Lodge residents
Early in the morning of the 25th of September the lady in charge of the house cleaners of Elphin Lodge, Jane Ngwenya came to advise us that the management of the Rand Aid Association-run retirement village had decided to give them the day off in order to celebrate Heritage Day.
The supervisor, Jane, was dressed in beautiful tribal dress and also advised that there would be a special cultural display starting at 11am in the quadrangle, which we were invited to attend. Our helper, Patricia, who works for us was dressed smartly and also came to advise us about the Heritage Day festival.
At 10:30am my wife and I started walking down King Fisher Road towards the scene of activity. We could see many people also walking in the same direction and were met with a hive of activity in the quadrangle which was festooned with different coloured beach umbrellas and the colourful yellow and brown chairs from the hall.
People were bustling about preparing different types of food and there was a squad of people braaing at the braaivleis fires which were covering the area with a light cloud of sweet-smelling grilled meat and distinctive coriander seed and clove aromas. This pleasant olfactory backdrop got the hunger pangs going in the ever-growing audience, which practically included all the residents of the frail care centre as well. Many were in wheelchairs and were attended to by carers.
There was a kaleidoscope of contrasting bright colours as many people moved rapidly around, bringing different types of foods and salads out, as well as bottles of wine. Braai pap was also being prepared on the fires and even Mopani worms, known as Masonja.
All the while the audience was entertained by a well-organised Radio Musical Team, playing hit songs from the 1960s and 70s. At 11am, Complex Manager Helen Petrie, dressed in her Rand Aid uniform, opened the proceedings with a short speech and then handed the microphone to Beatrice Baloyi, a smartly dressed lady in traditional dress who welcomed everyone in their own language – including English and Afrikaans – and then handed over to Hilda Mabaso, the master of ceremonies who was to continue with all the events of the morning.
Now everybody felt completely at home and the proceedings began, with each of the major culture groups represented being asked to do a traditional dance. The displays were very colourful and a pleasure to see. Some cultures had small bags containing seeds fastened around their ankles, creating a swishing sound as they danced.
When each culture had entertained the audience, everybody was invited to come into the hall for a fabulous lunch. Many people even tried eating Mopani worms for the first time and said they reminded them of eating prawns. Others ate pap and vleis for the first time.
A good time was had by all, with a big thank you to Rand Aid for the extraordinary entertainment and enjoyable lunch.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF RSCC HERITAGE DAY CELEBRATIONS
We woke to a beautiful sunny day on Friday, 25th September, the day that was planned for our Heritage Day celebrations at Ron Smith Care Centre. We all congregated by the rose garden, some under the trees, while others kept cool under big lovely umbrellas.
What a wonderful day it turned out to be! We celebrated by watching the staff singing and dancing to the beat of drums - a truly African sound! They were dressed in their traditional costumes and represented the different African cultures: Sotho, Pedi, Tsonga, Zulu, Xhosa and many others. Each stunning costume was different from the next and so very colourful, with lots of beautiful bead work adorning their heads and outfits. There was such a wonderful free mixing with everyone else, and lots of laughing and talking amongst the different cultures.
We then went into the hall which had been decorated and arranged very tastefully, and we sat at tables waiting for our dinner. There were so many people, that those wo could not get a seat in the hall, were accommodated in the main dining room. We were served salad, pap & wors, and chicken which had been cooked and braaied by many kind cooks. The smoke & smell of the braaing wors made us all very hungry and we thoroughly enjoyed this traditionally cooked meat.
The pleasure of seeing everyone enjoying themselves together was what truly made this a very special day. A very special thanks to all those who had worked so hard in organising this day so that it all went off without a hitch. Thank you, thank you one and all.
And so ended a memorable Heritage Day.
Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes with Wayne Wilmot of Sovereign Construction. Wayne sponsored a major portion of the care centre’s Heritage Day braai and the staff made a big card to thank him.
Siyabolela Mbanjuna, a Servest gardener, shows off his moves.
Mrs Mariana Duvenage and Mrs Virginia Lorge watch the dancing staged to celebrate Heritage Day.
Pretty as a picture ... Nomsa Shabangu and Vhutshilo Nemukula (domestic workers).
Betthy Hood, Lynette Saville, Annie Martiny and Nikki Els enjoy lunch in the dining hall.