‘Jika’ in isiXhosa means to turn around and captures the hustle and bustle of everyone involved at GAPA.
This blog will serve as a forum to keep you up to date with all the events that happen at GAPA, Khayelitsha. With time other members of GAPA will be writing posts for this blog.
The centre is a hub of activity with daily activities, workshops, grandmothers representing GAPA and the voice of women at various events, children playing and learning… in essence everyone seems ready and eager to learn and grow.
On the 7th August I (Althea Barry) started work as an Occupational Therapist at GAPA. My main focus will be assisting with planning a developmental programme for the 93 children that attend our afterschool care centre. There are four grandmothers working as teachers in the after care and one grandmother who teaches knitting. From left to right: Mrs Ngewu teaches Grade R-Grade2, Mrs Mangxilana teaches Grade 5-Grade 6, Mrs Mavilo teaches Grade 3-Grade 4, Mrs Skefile teaches knitting to all children interested and Mrs Hoza teaches Grade 7-Grade 8. We have been holding daily workshops around designing our programme and have come up with a provisional programme that we’ll test throughout the coming weeks.
Visit to Johannesberg
From the 13-15 August Mrs Mase was invited to Johannesburg to participate in a dialogue workshop on HIV/AIDS held by the Department of Social Development. She caught an aeroplane at the crack of dawn with the assistance of Mrs Budaza (Executive Director, GAPA). Mrs Mase was given an opportunity to speak about GAPA at the workshop and really enjoyed the experience.
St Pauls visit
On the 19 August GAPA grannies were invited by the members of St Paul’s church (in Rondebosch, Cape Town) to give a talk about what happens at GAPA. St Paul’s church have shown such interest in forming a partnership with GAPA and often ask for what the Grandmothers might need. Mrs Vivienne Budaza (Executive Director) attended with the GAPA grandmothers. Mrs Dlulane, Mrs Sohena and Mrs Lusizi gave a very good presentation to the church which has resulted in a committment from the church to give GAPA second hand clothing for the store and material off-cuts for the sewing projects.
We are really grateful to St Pauls for their interest in our projects and enjoy the opportunities to visit with them.
Department of Social Development Sports Day for Grandmothers and Grandfathers
On the 20th August two of GAPA’s grandmothers, Mrs Hoza and Mrs Mangxilana (both aftercare teachers) energetically volunteered to take part in a sports day at the Bellville sports ground. Participants from Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain and Gugulethu (to mention a few) competed in various events. Mrs Hoza took part in the running and Mrs Mangxilana took part in the ‘rugby throw’. Both describe this day as really enjoyable and were even more proud to say that the Khayelitsha teams performed the best. This is an annual event and both grandmothers would like to compete next year. This just goes to show how much energy this grandmothers have!
On the 20 August Vivienne (Executive Director) was invited to speak on a radio show hosted by Nancy Richards. Interest in GAPA was created due to documentary research by the Isandla Institute (which will be discussed further on). Vivienne spoke about the empowering structure of GAPA and how it assists in combating stigma of HIV/AIDS.
GAPA uses opportunities such as this to create more awareness about HIV/AIDS in our country. South Africa has such a high prevalence of the disease that we feel that by giving voice to our experiences we can further assist in moving it onto the national priority list.
UCT medical students present their findings…
Four 4th year medical students from the University of Cape Town (Colin Noel, Carly Leveton, Marsha Salo and Rizqa Sulaiman) conducted research on Grandmothers in Khayelitsha’s knowledge of nutrition. They interviewed various grandmothers from GAPA using a survey. Their findings indicated that many of the grandmothers had not been given the necessary information at the clinics regarding nutrition and chronic diseases such as diabetes. The students will make the research findings available to GAPA. Their presentation on 20th August involved negotiating a health promotion project with the grandmothers at GAPA. It was eventually decided that the most effective project would be 3 workshops on nutrition, to be given during GAPA’s monthly workshop week.
Their three workshops included:
Learning about food groups and making posters on the types of food from each group – directly related to the everyday food the grandmothers eat
Learning about the food pyrimid and correct ratios for a daily balance
Information on Vitamins and special dietry needs of people with HIV/AIDS
The students have left us some fantasitic posters to remind us of all that we learnt. We really enjoyed the time spent with them and found all the information valuable. In the words of the grandmothers ” now we are going to try eat more healthily”
Mrs Madzinga attends the launch of the documentary (Pocityvity+)
21 August Mrs Madzinga was invited to the Iziko Museum in Cape Town to view the launch of a documentry which she was interviewed for. It was produced by Mirjam van Donk, is the director of the Isandla Institute and Stacey-Leigh Joseph, a policy researcher at the Isandla Institute, were the producers of the documentary. It focusses on a story of survival and belonging in the context of HIV/AIDS- it “tells a story of Khayelitsha through the eyes of young adults, who comment on their day to day lives and physical conditions. Their commentary reveals that HIV/AIDS is inextricably linked to their daily realities and the built environment. The documentary also features a story of a grandmother who takes care of her orphaned grandchildren after the death of her daughters”. The documentary will be exhibited to the public at the Iziko Museum (dates not yet known).
GAPA – is full of energy, full of enthusiasm and on the go, Jika-jika GAPA!