Elderly Advocates Call for Golden Games Recognition in National Sports Calendar

BY: Sinethemba Zondi

Calls are growing louder for the Golden Games to be officially included in the national sporting calendar.

Participants in the 2023/24 financial year active aging program expressed dissatisfaction with the marginalization of the games, citing missed strategic influence and benefits.

Minister of Social Development, Ms. Lindiwe Zulu, echoed the sentiments of the elderly, emphasizing that the increasing lifespan of South Africans indicates the success of the active aging program.

The Golden Games have consistently demonstrated positive impacts on the lifestyle of older individuals. Rather than being viewed as a waiting period for the grave, reaching age 60 now signifies improved health and vitality due to an active lifestyle.

The Department of Social Development, led by Parliament, recently completed public hearings on the Older Persons Amendment Bill. The bill aims to safeguard the rights, dignity, wellbeing, safety, and security of older persons.

The department encourages older individuals to remain active in societal matters, sharing their skills and knowledge with the younger generation and continuing to care for orphaned and vulnerable children.

Treating older persons with respect and dignity, regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnicity, is crucial in recognizing their contributions.

The Golden Games also play a pivotal role in the healthcare system by reducing the burden of disease.

Mr. Thabo Molotjwa from the North West Province expressed pride in the government’s efforts for older persons but emphasized the need for better sporting equipment and facilities in communities.“This can be in the form of a small cash, like R200 as a motivation for them to continue participating in various sports. I also think that as older persons, if we get more support and publicity through the media we can be assisted by government to compete with the SADC countries,” said Molotjwa.

Eunice Milazi, 64-year-old from Phalaborwa, in Limpopo highlighted that as one of the older persons who is actively involved in the Golden Games, her wish was that older persons who reach the finals should be rewarded with something beyond trophies and medals.

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