A Legacy of Resilience: Elderly Ladies Wellness and Soccer Program Wraps Up 2023 with an Inspirational Closing Ceremony

By Esivani Naidoo

November 27, 2023

In a spectacle of strength, resilience, and camaraderie, the Curries Fountain Sports Development Centre ended the 2023 Elderly Ladies Soccer and Wellness Programme with a closing ceremony that will be etched in the memories of participants and spectators alike. The Closing Fixtures and Awards Ceremony infused vibrant energy into the sports field, as players took their spots on Wednesday 22nd November 2023. Over the course of eight months, this initiative brought together 20 teams from across eThekwini, showcasing the unshakeable spirit of ladies ranging from the vibrant ages from 49 to the awe-inspiring 90s. Notably, the oldest participant, a spirited 94-year-old named Ellena Ndlela, fearlessly laced up her boots for the formidable Little Stars, who were the runners up in Group A.

This programme, initiated by Curries Fountain Sports Development Centre in 2017, aims not only to promote health and fitness but also to foster a sense of community among its participants. What sets this programme apart is its integration of soccer matches with comprehensive wellness activities, creating a holistic approach to health for the elderly. Invigorating exercises and aerobics, led by dedicated volunteers, including students from the Durban University of Technology Department of Sport Studies, added an extra layer of vitality to the matches.

Nomasonto Mbonambi (66) who plays for Mgabadeli United (winners of Group B) said she found the programme to be helpful and encourages seniors to be active and exercise daily. She said, “Sometimes we get lonely with no one to talk to. This programme helped us to get excited and meet new friends.” Mbonambi’s response to her reaction of the Finals was “WOW!” She says her team enjoyed the lunch that was provided by eThekwini Municipality – Department of Sports Development and Recreation, the music and the spirit of the young volunteers. “I would like to thank Curries Fountain (Sports Development Centre) for organising a fun programme that helps to motivate us.” She says Mgabadeli United is encouraging more people to join in 2024.

A total of 16 passionate young volunteers devoted their time and efforts to contribute to the success of the programme. Their commitment was not only a testament to the spirit of volunteerism but also a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the well-being and health of our elderly community members. The sight of both young and old coming together for a day of fun and fitness was truly heartening, embodying the values of inclusivity and mutual support.

Reflecting on the programme, volunteer Minenhle Ndlovu described the experience as “bliss”. Ndlovu captured photography of the elated Elderly Ladies at the Closing Fixture and Awards Ceremony. He said, “As a young person, I was happy to be a part of the programme that allowed us to socialize with our elderly community in a fun and positive manner.” As a Sports Studies student, Ndlovu was passionate about the programme, “Curries Fountain (Sports Development Centre) has done well with this initiative, which promotes sport and healthy living for the elderly community. I am personally thrilled to be a part of this initiative because it also provides me with an opportunity to gain experience and sharpen my skills in co-ordinating sports events”.

Deeply rooted in community focus, the Curries Fountain Sports Development Centre has a rich history of fostering sports development, health, and wellness in the Durban area. Through innovative programmes and dedicated volunteers, the organization consistently strives to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals of all ages and abilities.

The success of the 2023 programme was further amplified by the support of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture – eThekwini Region, and eThekwini Municipality Sports Development and Recreation. Their sponsorship of medals and refreshments for the participants contributed significantly to the success of the Closing Ceremony. The provision of training soccer balls to the teams to encourage continuously pursuing their journey of keeping fit and aging gracefully.

As the season closed on the 2023 Elderly Ladies Wellness and Soccer Programme, the sense of accomplishment and unity lingered in the air. Looking ahead, Curries Fountain Sports Development Centre invites interested teams to a meeting on Wednesday, 29th November 2023 at 10.30am at the Curries Fountain Sports Development Centre boardroom located at 24 Winterton Walk, Durban. For more information, teams can contact the office at 031 309 3151 or via email at info@curriesfountain.co.za.

In the spirit of togetherness and celebration, the Curries Fountain Sports Development Centre eagerly anticipates the continued success of the Elderly Ladies Wellness and Soccer Programme in 2024.

Photography by: Minenhle Ndlovu