When feisty nonagenarian Monica Hobongwana heard that her home, the Callie Evens Lodge old age home and retirement complex in Cathcart, would be unable to hold their fund-raising activities because of Covid-19 lockdown regulations, she decided she would do something about it herself and embarked on a sponsored walk of 15km.
To date she has raised almost R10 000 and she is not done yet.
Retired Reverend Hobongwana, 93, who uses a walking aid, has undertaken to do a 15km sponsored walk over time in the grounds of the lodge.
Head of Home Pat Stocks said: “It is so rewarding to have people who see possibilities in the midst of problems and demonstrate the commitment to reach their goals. During this lockdown we have discovered that a spirit of co-operation and a will to make a difference know no cultural or generational barriers. Our Facebook post has reached more than 7 000 people across the world!”
Born and raised in England, as a teenager during World War II Monica had opportunities to be involved in many things such as Scouting, first aid and home nursing before training as a teacher. She later took up a teaching post at the Anglican mission in Sophiatown which resulted in her volunteering to help build a centre for men with difficult backgrounds. There she met another volunteer, Aaron Hobongwana, and they found they had much in common.
Although they corresponded regularly, no names or addresses were ever used because of the apartheid restrictions, but in 1952 the two met in Cape Town and Monica could meet Aaron’s parents in Langa. They knew that if they wanted to marry they would have to leave South Africa and England was the obvious place to be married in 1956. At that time they were both teachers and in time had three daughters and fostered a son.
In 1968 they emigrated to teach in Zambia and in 1981 moved to Zimbabwe where they continued teaching and were involved with the church.
They returned to South Africa in 1986 where they were both ordained as deacons in 2004 and as priests in 2006, eventually retiring to Cathcart.
Monica’s walk will be completed in 15 metre segments. Those who wish to support her efforts can either sponsor R6.20 per segment or R93 per km or just make a donation to Callie Evens Lodge, Standard Bank account number 280555792, BIC/Swift code SBZAZAJJ, reference Monica.