Asked how her Home for the Elderly survived on a mere five thousand rand per month, Sabie Mahlangu quipped, “we just survive and you can see that we are surviving.”
Powered by a strong faith in God, Sabie Mahlangu has devoted her life to the well being of the aged of a deeply rural village with a strange name of Transactie. Located about thirty kilometres to the west of the tourist town of Bela Bela, Limpopo Province, the small village seems to have been frozen in the past in terms of infrastructure, facilities and technology.
A dilapidated house, probably built more than fifty years ago, is home to a group of ageing and the aged of Transactie. The most senior member of this small family is 94 years old and has lost almost all of his hearing. Armed only with their monthly government grant, the elderly can only contribute a thousand rand from this income to their centre. With only five residents whose total contribution amounts to a paltry R5000.00 per month, the Centre is in need of some financial injection to function optimally. The meagre amount is the ultimate budget for the centre that must buy food for the whole month for the aged and staff, pay salaries, purchase pre-paid electricity and manage all day-to-day needs of a home of its kind.
Named after its founder Sabie Mahlangu, the home is two years old and requires serious support from external agencies to provide the kind of service befitting the senior citizens of our beloved country. Although the home itself is the epitome of poverty and disadvantage, the residents of the centre are generally in high spirits and heap praise upon praise on Sabie and her only assistant Jane Mpempela, a humble and hard working servant of the aged.
Having lost her work in Pretoria where she was taking care of the urban and predominatly white aged, Sabie Mahlangu returned to her village of Transactie two years ago and immediately got down to business. She converted a house bequeathed to her by her aunt into a home for the sick and aged. Undeterred by lack of money and other resources, Sabie has turned the lives of the abandoned and neglected elderly of the village around. She has created a home and small community of those that society generally neglects.
Sabie Mahlangu’s dream of her home of the aged in simple: ïf we can get the house extended and improved it would make a great difference to the aged of this home; we will also need some security to protect the home and ensure that the aged don’t leave the home unofficially wonder around the community. In that way I can have more aged people enrolled and taken care of in a caring and secure environment. I hope Thuma Mina will to lend a hand and assist us to better serve the sick and disadvantaged elderly of our community”.