Blankets given to the elderly in Gqeberha as part of Mandela Month celebrations

Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siyewa, says they are aware of the social challenges surrounding the elderly and are working hard to deal with them.

The Mandela Month Winter Warmer Drive came to Gqeberha on Thursday as part of the Mandela Month efforts.

The drive is aimed at mobilising stakeholders to play a part in changing the living conditions of ordinary people. The elderly received blankets and meals at the Uncedo Women’s Soup Kitchen.

Warm blankets as winter is biting deep are a gesture to the elderly to show they are cared for and not forgotten.

The aim is also to spread a message of hope. “We are looking for areas where our people are sitting and they have lost hope. In this area you’d know that unemployment is high, poverty is high, crime is high and therefore there is a need for the government not to look away. These are the places where we must be giving focus on and coming to,” says Siweya.

This year’s Mandela Month is celebrated under the theme:  “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”

“We feel happy today because our beneficiaries are old people who play a very important role in our society and we need to take care of them, and be closer to them, and learn our tradition. We are encouraging our South Africans, yes, it’s tough, there’s unemployment, but those who have, let us not look away,” says Siweya.

The beneficiaries appreciate this gesture. “We are very happy to see you here, it is very cold and we will have blankets for very cold nights. And stay warm, if it’s just a fleece we will use it when we watch TV.”

Another beneficiary says, “We are grateful to God for this day. We were called to receive blankets, so we can keep warm during the cold winter days.”

The Eastern Cape is the first of four provinces to benefit from this project. The drive started in Mthatha, East London, and now Gqeberha.

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