The Association for the Aged (Tafta) is honouring the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons with a week-long programme of events in Durban, the association announced today.
“This annual event honours and celebrates elders throughout the world and, considering its significance to an association such as ourselves, we’ve put together a programme of activities to allow our residents to feel revered and recognised for their contributions to the community this year,” explained Tafta CEO Femada Shamam,
Some of the highlights include a variety concert, sports event and Spring Ball, which Shamam describes as “the best moments” for the elders in Tafta’s care. In addition, the week’s line-up includes picnics, tea and pamper parties and other outings sponsored by some of the associations long standing benefactors.
This year’s United Nations theme for International Day of Older Persons; “Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society,” is also the perfect opportunity for Tafta’s residents to showcase the association’s philosophy of active ageing.
At 82-years-old, Tafta resident, Hester Bekker, for example, is proof that age is just a number.
The energetic and vibrant grandmother has proudly completed more than one hundred race events, including the ultimate human race – the Comrades Marathon at age 65.
Now, young at heart, Bekker, is still going strong. Part of her daily routine includes a brisk 10km walk at 5:30am along Durban’s promenade.
“I love being active. This is what keeps me happy and alert,” says Bekker
“The more I run and walk, the more I love my body. Not because it’s perfect, actually far from it, but because with every mile, it’s proving to me, that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible,” says Bekker, who turned to an active lifestyle after she was warned by her doctor that she would not live long.
“I had heart failure, high blood pressure and high cholesterol when I was 60-years-old. I was a ticking time bomb. That was when I decided to take control of my life,” she says.
Bekker recalls joining a sports and athletics club where she found great joy in road running. She then participated in several races and was placed among the top three competitors.
“The Comrades Marathon was a huge challenge for me but I managed to finish the race in eleven hours and achieve my biggest goal.
“I am so humbled by the many young people who tell me that I have been such an inspiration to them and hope to follow in my footsteps at my age. This inspires me all the more to do well.”
Shamam applauded Bekker’s efforts saying she was a fantastic role model to all Tafta residents.
“We salute Hester on her sterling achievements. She epitomises Tafta’s philosophy to inspire active ageing and we support her through her future race goals,” said Shamam.
For those runners aspiring to remain active into the future like Hester, there is an opportunity to participate in Tafta’s upcoming Trail Run event, taking place on 19 November at the Virginia Bush Nature reserve.