Celebs embrace Tafta’s “Hug Therapy” campaign

DURBAN’S influential personalities threw their support behind a novel campaign launched by The Association for the Aged (Tafta) by giving of their time to show love to the elderly.

Former Miss South Africa finalist and model, Julia Petersen along with Gagasi FM DJ, Mzokoloko Gumede were among the do-gooders who took time out of their busy schedules to add much-needed joy and companionship to senior citizens.

During their visits to Langeler Towers and John Conradie House on Durban’s South Beach and John Dunn House in Wentworth, many residents immediately recognised the popular figures and were overwhelmed with excitement at the opportunity to meet and interact with them.

Petersen spent the afternoon at Langeler Towers and John Conradie House, where she mingled with the residents and treated them to marshmallow Easter eggs.

“Spending time with the residents was a special experience and I believe that through their wisdom and humility, they have given me far more than I could’ve hoped to offer them by visiting. Being received with such warmth and kindness was a reminder that they truly understand what is most important in life,” said Petersen.

Mzokoloko accompanied by the presenters of the breakfast show I Love Mornings – Njabs Zwane, Heazy and Sbongiseni Mkhize – visited John Dunn House and brought their on-air exuberance to the home through light conversation, music, hugs and even some sweet treats. The sound of laughter and cheer resonated from the dining hall, where some residents joined the team to show off their best dance moves while others clapped and sang along.

Residents relished the opportunity to record personal messages, which would be aired on Gagasi FM’s morning show. The radio personalities described their morning with the residents as inspiring and rewarding.

“I was truly touched, but at the same time very happy to be making a positive difference. These wonderful folks seem to have such a strong need to connect with the outside world,” said Mzokoloko. “I grew up in a place where we were taught to care for and respect our elders and I believe that all youngsters should maintain those values and visit their grandparents regularly,” he added.

Zwane said she was honoured to be invited to participate in such a positive initiative. “It’s always nice for us to give back. This initiative warms my heart because the elderly are often a neglected part of society,” she said.

“Their reactions today have shown how important it is to maintain human contact with them. I say this because they are not known to us personally but their happiness indicates just how much they long for nothing more than our time.”

The visit was heartfelt for Heazy, who did not have the opportunity to meet his grandparents. “It was very refreshing for me to walk around and interact with so many of grannies and grandpas today. I was so impressed when one of the residents hummed a melody from Mafikizolo,” he said.

“My perception has certainly changed. Old aged homes are often seen as a place filled with grumpy, difficult and hard to manage people, but this certainly was not the case.”

The visits formed part of Tafta’s ‘Hug Therapy’ campaign, which was launched in February and continues throughout the year with the aim of spreading love and affection to those who need it the most.

The campaign invites the public to give the ultimate gift of goodness by spreading love to the elderly through the comfort of cuddles.

“Thank you to each person who volunteered their time to make a valuable difference in the lives of our residents. A hug or brief conversation is a seemingly small gesture but these interactions are missed most by our residents,” said Tafta CEO Margie Smith.

Join Tafta to share the comfort of a cuddle or hug with an older person. You can also share the love by SMSing ‘donate’ to 40555. SMSes are charged at R20, and free SMSes do not apply.

 

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