Heritage Day celebration at Ron Smith Care Centre

Josephine Kew, Forget Khoza and Siyakubonga Nazo.

 Colour, fun and camaraderie as people celebrate their culture

On Friday, September 21, the community at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre embraced their culture by dressing up in traditional outfits and participating in a wonderful Heritage Day celebration.

Part of the preparations for the day involved a ‘get to know your heritage’ exercise, whereby care centre staff engaged with the elders to discover their cultural background. They then helped to create a hat for each of the 150 residents, with the residents’ name, country and flag of his/her origin incorporated into the design.

It was discovered that although most of the residents were born in South Africa, many come from diverse backgrounds and have roots in Italy, Portugal, Germany, France, Poland, Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Indonesia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man, China, Canada, Israel, Namibia, Egypt, Zimbabwe or Zambia, giving the whole event  a universal feel. In addition, colourful flags from all over the world were made in the OT Activity Centre. They were used as centrepieces for the gaily decorated tables, and as bunting to decorate the lapas and gazebos in the beautiful Woodlands garden where the event was held.

The residents and staff gathered in their numbers to celebrate the richness and diversity of cultures represented at the care centre. The celebrations began with a riot of colour as various staff from housekeeping, nursing, kitchen and garden services presented a programme of traditional dances representing the Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Tsonga, and Shangaan tribes. The staff also performed an Israeli folk dance called Nigun Atik and a Scarf Dance to a Strauss Viennese Waltz. At a certain point in the programme, the dancers scattered into the audience and moved joyously to the music with the elders, which brought smiles of delight and laughter.

After enjoying the outdoor entertainment, and with the smell of braaied meat wafting through the air, everyone had managed to work up a hearty appetite! The famous ‘Naked Chefs’ from Rand Aid’s Inyoni Creek had very kindly come along to braai hamburgers for some 300 plus people (residents and staff), and these were hungrily enjoyed by all. A variety of condiments were available to ‘build your own burger’, which was quite fun. Pap and gravy, Greek salad and carrot and pineapple salad were also on offer, with Eskimo Pies rounding off the delicious alfresco meal.

Debbie Christen, Manager: Recreational Programmes commented: “Music, dance and movement have a way of bringing people together and the whole day was filled with fun, joy, warmth, connection, and a wonderful feeling of unity and harmony in diversity. This day of celebration was about embracing and sharing one’s cultural heritage and identity and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.”

Nicky Ponco and Helen Barlow-Jones enjoy a dance together.

Asnath Muthaki and Ellen Prinsloo.

Kicking high.

Staff perform a traditional Israeli folk dance.

Residents and staff at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre enjoy their Heritage Day celebration.

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