Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Our Golden Oldies

Twelve of Prince Albert’s senior citizens will represent the Central Karoo at the Western Cape Golden Games being held at the University of the Western Cape from 1 to 3 October. They were selected following their success at the Central Karoo sports day in Beaufort West in August where they competed against other teams from towns throughout the Central Karoo.

The Golden Games, consisting of a series of competitive but fun track and field events for people over the age of 60, are held annually. In Beaufort West, Prince Albert’s Karoo Olywe, as they are now known, won silver medals for the team event, Passing the Ball. Alfred Voetpad shone in Jukskei, where he too won an individual silver medal, while Spasie Plaatjies brought home a bronze medal in the Duck Walk.

Apart from their regular physical exercise routine, the Karoo Olywe meet at the local service centre (Bejaardesorg Sentrum) to do arts and crafts and other educational activities. However, they are concerned that their numbers have dwindled in the last year – to 12, whereas, by comparison, Klaarstroom’s senior citizens group has 21 members – and that financial support for an intern to work with them is no longer forthcoming from the Department of Social Development.

At the same time, the Karoo Olywe told the Friend that they were not going to let either setback get them down. “People shouldn’t let age and health stand in the way of joining us. Before we do any physical exercise our fitness levels are tested, we’re kept informed about health issues that could affect us and no-one should be worried,” they said.

They also have plans to fundraise by organising Baking Days and selling home-baked bread and other goodies, as well as needlework.

The Karoo Olywe also felt that their activities should be more inclusive and representative of the whole community of Prince Albert and noted that the other sports teams participating at Beaufort West were just that.

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