Welcoming the elders of NOAH, Chief Executive Officer of the CTICC, Julie-May Ellingson, referred to the Xhosa proverb Indlela ibuzwa kwabaphambili, which translates to seeking advice from those who have already gained the experience.
“Who better to advise us than our elders? In this fast-paced world of the internet and smart phones, we often turn by default to our computers and the worldwide web for advice. But as a wise man once said: ‘The best classroom is at the feet of an elderly person. We must never forget that we have great vaults of knowledge in our own communities, knowledge gained not at a keyboard but from living, finding solutions to life’s challenges and using the accumulated wisdom of generations to solve problems specific to our environment, our people and our country,” said Ms Ellingson.
NOAH’s mission is to help as many social pensioners as possible live independent and dignified lives within their own communities.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Older Persons was “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions”.
Jane Mills, Social Enterprises Development Manager at NOAH, said: “Social pensioners are the backbone of our society and a day to celebrate their enormous contribution past, present and future is vital. We were touched that a large corporate like the CTICC had taken the care and thought to honour our members in this way.
“We feel extremely grateful for this wonderful gesture. The CTICC has had an extremely respectful and collegial relationship with NOAH and this event is evidence of that.”
Ms Mills emphasised the important role corporate entities can play in raising awareness of the value of older persons and their contributions to society.
“Their customers, suppliers and staff are potential audiences to whom a positive message about older persons can be broadcast – whether it is an event, a CSI contribution or a staff volunteer initiative.”
Ms Ellingson concluded her welcome with a tribute addressed to the NOAH elders: “I see you. I see your wisdom. I see the education, care and nurturing you have provided to the generations that have followed yours. Thank you. I am because you are: Umntu ngumtu ngabantu.”