Cancer awareness event


The Aberdeen clinic Committee hosted a Cancer day event last Sunday afternoon at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Thembalesizwe, which was well attended.

The theme was “break the silence and voice out”, aiming to encourage people not to be afraid to talk about the disease.

All guests were given a pink ribbon to pin on their tops, and several of the organisers and guests were dressed to the theme of pink- even the programmes were printed on deep pink paper.

Interspersed with frequent impromptu singing, the event consisted of a number of speakers as well as local entertainment.

Maria Jeggels’ group of Spiritual Dancers performed with grace, and the choral items from the Congregational Church Male Choir and Mloza Junior Voices were top class. Catherine Kalaka’s rich voice was also inspiring. The young children of Mloza Voices were very well behaved throughout the programme, and their strong young voices were a delight.

Programme director Maria Jacobs, Chris Afrika, and Phillip Finnis all spoke of their experience with cancer, whether with family members, or, in Finnis’s case, his own diagnosis and treatment.

The main guest speaker was Veronica Muller, the non-communicable diseases manager of the Camdeboo subdistrict  at the Department of Health in Graaff-Reinet. Muller spoke with authority and engaged the audience well. She talked about the taboo that not only prevents many from seeking help, but also causes them to hide a cancer diagnosis from friends and even family. She explained about the importance of self-testing- by breast examination for women, and men for testicular cancer. Unfortunately many men in particular are reluctant to be examined by a female nurse, and she related that when she wanted to talk about prostate cancer at the clinic, most of the men walked out.

Muller’s main message was that people need to take responsibility for their own health, by taking preventative measures and having regular check-ups.

Charmaine van Gent from the clinic committee presented Muller with a plant, as a token of appreciation. Yvonne Frazenburg talked about the symbolic candle for all sufferers, which on the day was surrounded by several fluffy teddy bears. These had been brought along by guest Jean Watermeyer, Aberdeen’s representative for the Graaff-Reinet and District Cancer Association. The sale of the bears, which were donated to the Cancer Association, has brought in several thousands of rands for the Association, and the three that had been brought to Sunday’s event were soon snapped up.

Nthuthu Poswa gave a word of thanks, and then all involved in the afternoon’s entertainment gathered on the stage for a final few songs.


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