Category Archives: In the News


AgeWell featured in South Africa’s Daily Maverick: Growing old, with your soul intact

The Daily Maverick’s Marelise van der Merwe recently sat down with AgeWell to learn about the AgeWell companions working to bring comfort and support to their communities.

She writes, “South Africa, like the rest of the world, is facing an age bulge. We’ve got more and more old people, and they need all the same things the rest of us do: care, companionship, and to make ends meet. So what better way to make all this happen than to get seniors taking care of each other, while earning in the process?” 

To read the full story, click here.




Peggy and Rubie

AgeWell Interview: Peggy and Rubie

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:

Peggy Luthuli.

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.


Rubie Huisamen.

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.

AgeWell Interview: Wendy Maseko

Wendy Maseko.

Age: 61. Born Nqmekwe, near Butterworth, Eastern Cape. Came to Khayelitsha 40 years ago. Resident of Khayelitsha.

 This gentle and quietly spoken grandmother of 5 radiates goodness. She is the kind of person every community needs. She calmly goes about making her contribution as a church counsellor, a leader of the church widows’ programme and in informal ways, to her family and friends.

Wendy heard about AgeWell from a neighbour and was immediately interested as she loves to help people. At first, Wendy was apprehensive about how she would cope with AgeWell training, especially when thinking about learning how to use a smartphone.  Now that it is over, she feels ready to get out into the community, along with her AgeWell partner, and her trusted smartphone. “I feel so proud to be using this smartphone. I would never have believed it was possible”.

Being a committed Christian, she likes the idea of working for God.



The elderly supporting the elderly: AgeWell featured in GroundUp

AgeWell companion Sindiswa Tati of Khayelitsha shares her experience with AgeWell in a new GroundUp article.

“Nearly six years ago, Sindiswa Tati of Mandela Park in Khayelitsha, was going blind and often spent her days alone at home. Now, Tati, 68, has recovered, and since joining the AgeWell programme, says she feels “younger, confident and empowered” to help others in need of a friend.”

Click here to read the full GroundUp article 


AgeWell reaches 100 clients!


It is with great pleasure and enormous excitement that I am sharing this historic AgeWell moment! As of today, 27 May 2014, we have enrolled our 100th client!  Kudos to our fabulous Assessors, better known as the “A TEAM”, and to the AgeWells themselves, team members, partners and health providers who have assisted in identifying potential clients for our programme.


Viva AgeWell!


Best regards,

Adora Iris Lee

Programme Director


AgeWell – A new beginning for older South Africans

by Roger Thomas, volunteer

(The following is an excerpt from AgeWell volunteer Roger Thomas’s observations of the AgeWell training programme in Khayelitsha.)

The AgeWell Programme brings a new idea that aims to improve the lives of older people in South Africa, and around the world. And…it is being born right here in Khayelitsha, South Africa. In years to come when AgeWell is internationally renowned, people will say: “It all started in Khayelitsha.”

When a new idea is born, no matter how good it is, it has to be well planned and managed. The last few months have been an intensive preparation period by many people, from many countries coming together in an incredibly exciting and hard working team environment. The rigorous four week training course training programme has been completed and the AgeWell graduates are ready to go into the community and begin their work.

We all get old, ageing is a natural part of life and should never be seen as a burden to a community any more than a young child is a burden. In fact older people can give a lot more but as they get older and less strong and mobile they might need a bit more help. They have done a lot in their lives, looking after others, working, building, loving, caring and it is only right that, in their autumn years, they are happy, respected and valued. Older people are a great treasure to the community. They have wisdom, kindness, time, experience and they want to be a happy and good member of the community as much as anyone else.

The AgeWells have undergone thorough training, even being taught how to use smartphones so they can catch up with their children and grandchildren. The first group of AgeWells had completed their training course and were presented with their AgeWell certificates on the on the 28th of March 2014. Their graduation ceremony was an inspiring and happy occasion. The twenty one graduates clapped, danced, sang and prayed with joy in their hearts.
• They were making history.
• They were the first AgeWells ever – in the world.
• They knew the AgeWell idea is a wonderful one.
• They knew it would work and spread around their community, the city, the country and the world.

As the progressive fragmentation and mobility of modern society breaks down the traditional family structures, where the aged were automatically cared for in stable location bound communities, the birth of AgeWell is an idea whose time has come.

AgeWell Interview: Chief Zongezile Tshona

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.