Susan’s Blog: Salani kahle

Goodbye. Today (Sat.) we head for Johannesburg and this is my final blog. Goodbyes with the gogos always drown me in emotion – singing that soars, movement that is inseparable from their voices, an individual hamba kahle and hug with each one. With every visit I’ve come to know them better on an individual basis, and feel such a compelling connection. My eyes were not dry when I spoke.

Thank you’s flowed, and what was clear is that we all truly understand that it is the team effort – Grannies à Gogo, Rev. Ginny, Milly and Ruth, Joy and Reinette, and the indomitable spirit of the gogos. The whole thing has become bigger than the sum of its parts.

My breath was quite taken away when two of them hustled me off to a side room and put a traditional SiSwati dress on me. This was a surprise not only to me, but to all the other gogos, and when we re-entered singing and swaying they were almost as euphoric as I was. The symbolism of making me their sister didn’t escape me.

Earlier I gave a little party for the gogos and Home Based Care ladies – two cakes decorated with “We love you Sitabogogo” and bowls of fruit and juice.

Ginny, surrounded by hats, scarves and knitted caps.

On another subject, I’m often asked why the gogos are always seen with hats of some sort and haven’t been able to answer. So I finally asked. They answered that it is their culture to wear a head covering once a woman is married or has a child (those two events being in no particular order.) They explained they are probably the last generation to do so, as young women now experiment with many hairstyles instead. They also mentioned that they’ve never worn trousers as the younger women now do. Here’s an idea via Ginny – to buy white cotton hats for all of them, similar to the one in the lower left of the photo, and then they will decorate them with their beadwork.

I’ve made reference throughout the last three weeks to how Sitabogogo has become a recognized presence in the community. This was underscored yet again when Ginny introduced me to the young man instrumental in organizing the representatives from Thaba Chweu for last year’s Senior Games (see Blog #4: Golden Gogos). Apparently this year he hopes to make up an entire team from Sitabogogo!

So much to watch for and support in the year ahead. Salani kahle, and hope to see many of you at the Pot Luck on March 31st – I’ll have a slide show of this visit (and wear my SiSwati member dress!)


3 thoughts on “Susan’s Blog: Salani kahle

  1. Dear Susan,

    I am left misty eyed with gratitude for your having made your visit to Sabie and your emotional reactions to what you have experienced with Ginny and the Gogos a part of our lives on the other side of the world. I feel recharged with energy to do that we can to make the hopes and aspirations of the Gogos a reality.

    With love, Anne

  2. Your blogs are amazing and really make me feel connected to our Gogos. Our organization has made a difference but there are many areas where funds could help – like the training of daycare teachers. Thanks Susan for working so hard on our behalf – it’s been wonderful – next best thing to being there.

  3. I just sat down and read all your blogs and you do an amazing job of making this program come to life. It is very inspiring.

    These gogos have been given a wonderful opportunity and they in return inspire us with their fellowship, creative work and general happiness.

    Re the covered heads. I was told by my maid that it was part of their religion to have their heads covered when married. In fact may maid told me she even wears something on her head when she goes to bed.

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