No family on Family Day

27 Dec 2015 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 27 DEC (NAMPA) – A number of elderly Namibians living in old age homes around the capital have expressed dissatisfaction with their family members for not being with them on Family Day – a public holiday celebrated on the 26 December.
On Saturday, Nampa visited various old age homes to find out how the elderly citizens celebrated their Family Day, as most Namibians were with their families and still showing signs of being festive after Christmas Day by hosting for instance a lunch or a family get-together. Unfortunately, the behaviour of the younger generation forgetting about the elderly and giving them less attention prevailed for some.
Eric Brandt, 71, from the Katutura Old Age Home expressed sadness to the fact that he could not spend the day with his family and that it made him feel like his family had been taken away from him.
“I do not even know where the they are, maybe they are in the city (Windhoek) or maybe not.
“I feel very lonely and sad but I don't have a choice, so I watch television and chat with others; they have become my new family,” said Brandt who has been living in the old age home for about two years.
Sharing the same sentiment is 64-year-old John Coetzee whose family lives in a different country. He said it is hard being away from his family during the festive season.
“My family is in South Africa and it is very hard to accept that I cannot be with them today.
“It is very expensive for them to travel to Namibia regularly so I just have to accept my fate and enjoy the company of those who are around me here,” said Coetzee.
Expressing appreciation of what the home’s administration has done to make the day special for them, 67-year-old Jan Maritz said he is quite satisfied with administration’s efforts to make them feel at home.
“We received gifts and pastors came over to preach the word of God so the day was quite good. I feel lucky to be alive and healthy, even though my children could not be with me today as they have already left for holidays,” concluded Maritz who has been living there for about four years.
Fortunately, being forgotten or receiving less attention was not the case for all of the elderly living in old age homes, as 61-year-old Tilde Kets from the Oude Rust Oord old age home in Windhoek West described the day as “nice and fun”.
“My daughter brought me food which we ate together and we even had time to chat with each other sharing all the wonderful memories we have together; we really had fun,” she said who has been living there for about two years.
Family Day is celebrated on the 26th of December each year and is intended to remind Namibia of the importance of everybody respecting their ancestors, appreciating cultural heritage and spending time with family members.