Roger Thomas, AgeWell volunteer, interviewed AgeWells working in Khayelitsha and recorded their stories. This is the first in a series of his stories from AgeWells in the field.
Chief Zongezile Tshona.
Age 67, born Cala, Eastern Cape. Resident in Khayelitsha for 29 years. Member of Khayelitsha Development Forum. Traditional name: Aa Zwelazuza.
“Some may say we are getting a second chance, but for many of us it will be our very first chance. I like the idea of older people helping older people to have better lives. It makes so much sense. I am an old man and I understand old people. The training I have just completed was exceeded my expectations. I am ready and keen to get started as an AgeWell companion and make my contribution to the community as soon as I can.”
These were the words of Chief Tshona, a tall, regal man with a Mandela like quality. His fixed gaze, impeccable English and commanding presence make him a man to be listened to. He is intelligent and insightful, yet his wisdom and warmth set him apart. As a traditional Xhosa chief and natural leader, he shows a clear feeling of concern for older people in Khayelitsha. As a result, he is compelled to make a positive contribution to this under-resourced community. Chief Zongizile Tshona is ready to begin his work.