The youth of Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria, has decided to spend Youth Day differently this year. They came together and raised funds and bought 78 blankets, which they donated to Norma’s Old Age Home in the area.

The home caters for 65 elderly people between the ages of 60 and 100.

Elizabeth Mabiletsa welcomed the gift, especially on Youth Day.

“I’m going to feel warm. I don’t know if I will be able to wake up tomorrow morning. They have to have patience with me wanting to wake up,” says the 83-year-old.

Young people, who participated in the initiative, say it is time to change perceptions about Youth Day commemorations.

“We’ve covered all the ladies here. So it’s really nice just to give back to the community, ” says one of the participants.

“As you know it’s Winter and it’s cold and I think a little bit of warmth will go a long way,” adds another one.

The owner of Norma’s Old Age Home, Nomalanga Mogomotsi, welcomed the gesture.

“They help us a lot. They have given us everything that we need. When we need something they do help and I can’t even say much because if you see a person helping you, you run short of words,” she says.

Meanwhile, the convener of the group of young people, Moshe Lesutu, says the youth needs to remember the sacrifices the elderly made in order for the younger generations to enjoy their freedom.

“For the past three weeks it has been extremely cold and we came with an idea as family that how about raising money from individuals and other businesses, businesses around Ga-Rankuwa and we managed to raise the money. We bought blankets. We bought about 78 blankets and the idea is to help elderly people,” says Lesutu.

Lesutu says they will be extending their philanthropy to other centres during Mandela Day celebrations next month.