Maditaba Elisa Matlou
Tshwaranang Old Age Centre
Maditaba Elisa Matlou, a teacher by profession, has no regrets for the journey she has undertaken thus far. She co-founded the Tshwaranang Old Age Centre with an intake of 42 older persons, ten years ago. The centre benefits older people in many ways, such as keeping them together to share their own stories, challenges and perspectives as part of the community. It is important that this older generation is never forgotten, and society learns from its wisdom, Matlou says. During these times when old-age facilities are rare in rural areas, Matlou was joined by her colleague and friend, Muyexe Ngobeni, in conceiving the idea of setting up an adult care centre in the rural village of Mohlabaneng in Limpopo. Registered as a non-profit organisation (NPO), the entity opened its doors to the villagers in 2012. With eight staffers, the centre is governed by a board of directors. The old “gogos and mkhulus” congregate on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays to enjoy a treat of breakfast and lunch, which is prepared by volunteers. “We also have a small garden to keep the elderly busy, working to produce an assortment of vegetables and rearing plants. Water scarcity is a big problem, but we do what we can to keep everyone happy,” says Matlou. “There is also time to have the elderly work out, a programme aimed at keeping them fit,” she quips.