Gardening and God keeps gogo (106) going

Solomon Qadi (MNCP’s field worker), gogo Ngabuza Liza Ntshangase and Sandra Pillay (MNCP’s programme manager and fundraiser) handing a gift to gogo Ntshangase after the party.

Ezinketheni’s gogo Ngabuza Liza Ntshangase, who recently turned 106, was honoured at a luncheon along with other elderly women, last week by Mama Ntombi’s Community Projects (MNCP).

Gogo Ntshangase, at 106, is an avid gardener and attributes her long life to her faith in God.

Describing herself as a hard worker, she said she loved her family and was a people’s person.

Enjoying food cooked on an outside fire using good old fashioned firewood, her favourite meal is phuthu and vegetables.

Remembering the “good old days” fondly, she said she was, however, saddened by the lack of respect shown to the elderly nowadays.

“There is no respect for old people anymore and that is sad,”said gogo Ntshangase.

Born and raised in Greytown, gogo Ntshangase had 10 children – nine who passed away while her husband was still alive.

Gogo Ntshangase said she and her husband moved to the farm close to Ezinketheni for work.  Her husband died 20 years ago leaving her to care for their only surviving daughter and her daughter’s five children.

After her husband passed away, she moved to Umshwathi but because of political violence she was forced to move back to Ezinketheni.

Her only surviving daughter died earlier this year and gogo Ntshangase’s grandchildren have since moved away to live in Imbali.  She now lives with her 18-year-old grandson.  Her granddaughter who lives in Imbali helps gogo Ntshangase to collect her pension and does her grocery shopping.

Sandra Pillay, programme manager and fundraiser for MNCP said gogo Ntshangase’s wish in her lifetime is to access water and electricity in her home.

Ezinketheni, an informal settlement just outside Pietermaritzburg, lacks some of the basic necessities such as proper roads, water and housing.

“Gogo Ntshangase has to collect water from a community tap that is a long distance away.  Her one wish is that the municipality enables running water from her home which will make life so much easier for her. She would also like her wattle and mud house to be renovated,”said Pillay.

MNCP which was founded in 2007, cares for the many orphaned and vulnerable children at the Ezinketheni Informal Settlement as well as for the elderly grandmothers who in turn care for their grandchildren.

Pillay said the organization held a party for gogo Ntshangase on October 4.

“Apart from the joyous time of singing and dancing and Pastor Israel Khumalo bringing a word of encouragement to the grannies, gogo Ntshangase was given an opportunity to share her life story with us.  The gogos were also treated to a hot meal and lucky draw prizes,”said Pillay.

Intatheli ye-Eyethu

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