- A kind-hearted woman from Pietermaritzburg provides regular meals twice a week for 150 grannies
- She raises funds by selling sweets a local primary school to buy the ingredients for the bi-weekly lunches
- She started the initiative in 2016 with only six grannies now she feeds 150 from her small home
Grace Mnikathi from Willowfontein‚ Pietermaritzburg makes sure that 150 gogos in her area get a decent meal at least twice a week.
She raises money for the bi-weekly meals by selling sweets and snacks at a local primary school. The organises the meals every Tuesday and Friday.
The receive a breakfast of tea and bread and for lunch, they get whatever Grace has prepared, she wants to make sure that they can take their medication on a full stomach.
She started the initiative in 2016 and at the time she was feeding just six gogos but as the news spread of her genorisity, the number swelled to 150. The gogos spend the whole day at Grace's house from 6am to 7pm.
“Gogos would come to me and ask for food. I could not ignore them‚” she says. “Seeing that a lot of them saw me as a shoulder to cry on‚ I saw a need for action. I took the profit I made and bought food in bulk. Whenever anyone was asking for food I would take from the bulk.”
“In 2016 I decided to invite them for Christmas lunch. Six of them came. Then I took a decision to invite them every Tuesday. The number has grown to 150. They now come on Tuesday and Friday‚” says Mnikathi.
80-year-old Sizakele Ntuli started visiting Grace in 2017 and says that Tuesday and Friday have become her favourite days of the week. The gogos use the opportunity to vent their frustrations and socialise.
Cecilia Mshengu‚ 75‚ has learned how to do beadwork at Grace's house and Bhekizizwe Mkhize‚ 79‚ helps out in the garden.
“The vegetables we eat are from our garden. We have potatoes‚ cabbage and spinach. We feel safe here. The atmosphere is good. We share our old time stories. We laugh at those without teeth. The physical workouts help us. We are checked regularly. It helps and we are grateful. She doesn’t charge us for anything‚” says Mkhize. But‚ he says‚ the house has “become small”.
Grace has approached the local municipality for assistance in providing a shelter but there is little chance as the municipality has no funds.
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