Peggy Luthuli and Rubie Huisamen work together as an AgeWell pair in the Sea Point pilot site. Peggy takes a bus every morning from Khayelitsha to meet Rubie at her residence in Sea Point Place. From there, they plan their day and head out together to visit their clients in the community. Here are their stories captured by Roger Thomas:
Age 66. Born in East London. Resident of Khayelitsha for 22 years.
Peggy has had a hard life and yet has emerged dignified, positive and practical. She was born to a young mother who was unable to care for her and from the age of 10 days, she was brought up by a white English speaking family in East London. She later went to a boarding school in Stutterheim run by nuns where she learned to speak Xhosa as well as English. She became pregnant in form 3 and she married the father. They were eventually divorced. Her three children, all sons, died sudden and tragic deaths, one in an accident and the other two were stabbed.
Life has been difficult and laced with tragedy but Peggy found work to support herself and her children starting as a cleaner at Checkers in Nahoon. Through her own determination, she worked her way up through the company as a packer, cashier and into the cash office eventually being transferred to Checkers in Cape Town. She was moved by the company into Dions and finally Game. After 25 years with the group she retired on health grounds with a pension. She is now healthy again, has her own house and rents out space to a boarder.
So, from a very challenging situation, this remarkable woman has pulled her life together and is now ready and very keen to put something back into the community. She heard about AgeWell from a friend and feels this is the way for her to do it. She feels the training has been good and she can’t wait to start.
Age 69., born Pretoria and lived there until Standard 4. She moved around RSA and neighbouring states and is now a resident at CPOA, Sea Point. Widowed 6 years ago.
It would be difficult to find a more varied and colourful Southern African background than that of the warm and enthusiastic Rubie Huisamen. Rubie’s father was a policeman who wanted to join the ministry and wrote his matric at 38 years old so he could study at Pretoria University. His fellow student and close friend was the brave Afrikaner anti apartheid campaigner Beyers Naude. Because of this Rubie’s father was a marked man. Rubie described him as a wonderful father and an enlightened man, especially for those days. The family moved around a lot during the ministry often spending lengthy periods living in caravans. Her parents lost everything in the great flood of 1981 while living in Laingsburg. After she married her teacher husband they both taught in Cape Town. They had two sons. The youngest, Caspar, is a doctor specialising in HIV. Rubie and her husband moved between the Nelspruit area and Pretoria where she worked at the university library for 6 years enabling her son to study at reduced fees. She then left to help Caspar build his HIV practice in Cape Town. The family has been through some hard times financially. Rubie is happily settled in CPOA’s Sea Point Place and does craft work to supplement her state pension.
Rubie’s positive and compassionate approach is infectious. She thinks the AgeWell concept is just wonderful. She has love in her heart and wants to become an AgeWell. It will be her new mission in life.