Verulam: 26 December 2011
On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party, myself
and my family, I wish everyone at the Verulam Day and Frail Care
Centre a wonderful festive season. It is my pleasure to send
this message of support and good wishes as 2011 draws to a
I have celebrated 83 Christmases and with
each passing year I recognize more and more the value of
cheerful giving. As Gandhi said, "Generosity consists not of the
sum given, but the manner in which it is bestowed". Christmas is a
season of generosity and giving. It is a time to celebrate our
relationships and to express our affection for one another with
gifts and tokens.
Indeed, by giving a gift, we acknowledge
someone's value and importance. I am therefore grateful to the
Khwaja Ameenudeen Foundation of South Africa for hosting this
Christmas dinner at the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre, for
they are expressing on behalf of all South Africans that you,
our senior citizens, are valuable and important.
Our society has changed over the decades and
the traditional structure that saw the elderly cared for by
family has become a rarity rather than the norm. Financial
constraints and fluid family structures have created a growing
need for centres like this where the aged can receive
assistance. These centres rely on the support of private
citizens, charitable organizations and business. It is perhaps
not how things should be, but it opens a window of opportunity
I have worked for more than half a century in
politics and public life. I am an octogenarian, but I still work
in Parliament. I still hold our Government accountable. I still
ask tough questions of our Ministers. I still fight for social
justice and economic reforms. I still write to newspapers, visit
communities, speak in churches and address rallies. I still
support my family and my grandchildren. I still care for my
country. I still vote. And my voice still counts.
But I don't think I am unusual in any way. I
am simply a patriot who refuses to believe that my contribution
to this country is limited to what I did before the age of 65,
or 70 or even 80. My contribution will continue as long I live,
not only because I believe I have something to give, but because
my country has so many desperate needs.
I know that you have all given a great
contribution to our society already. You have worked, you have
raised families, you have paid taxes, you have helped educate
the next generation, you have sacrificed, saved, spent and
prayed. Some of you have given almost a lifetime's contribution.
But not yet. It isn't finished yet. There is still so much to
At our age, we know ourselves better, and we
know the unique gift we have to give the world. Whether it is
the gift of music or an encouraging spirit, the gift of cooking,
teaching, listening or writing letters to councillors. There is
no excuse for withholding the gifts we still have to give.
Keeping them to ourselves will bring us no joy, but giving them
freely and with a cheerful heart will make all the difference in
I am delighted to see such a young man as Mr
Fakeer Noordeen at the helm of a charitable organization like
the Khwaja Ameenudeen Foundation of South Africa. Mr Noordeen
represents a young generation that is yet to give its
contribution to our country. It is inspiring to know that he has
already served the community through the Foundation for three
years. I hope he is encouraged to keep going.
As you celebrate this Christmas dinner, may
you be inspired to look for your gift. Not the one that is under
the tree at Christmas time, but the one that is in your heart;
the one that you can still give to make a difference to others
and to yourself. May this be a season of cheerful giving.