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By Mr Mokgomatse Conference Matseke

 What a day!I realized how important it was to celebrate this day, because I was part and parcel of those celebrants who were honored by JORETA to have reached this remarkable day in their lifetime. It was held on 9 May 2023 and a selected number of four members per area was invited by Mother-body committee to appreciate God’s grace who made it possible for 22 members of our Association to have reached 80 years of age. I take this as no mean feat, because there are very few people who are fortunate to reach this milestone during the course of their lifespan.

According to the Bible it is only those who show respect to their parents that are assured long life beyond seventy years of age. Furthermore it is stated in Psalm 90 verse 10 that “the days of our years are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”It is true that God’s Spirit shall not abide in us forever (Genesis 6: 3) but the good part of it is that God has sustained and carried us to enjoy the days of old age thus far. The verbal report that we got from bereavement committee is that those who turned eighty years earlier this year are still alive and probably those who still have to celebrate their birthdays in months to come,  will see the dawn of year-end. We are happy that we have exceeded the Biblical threescore and ten and are lucky to have travelled a journey of 29200 days from 1943 to 2023 to date.

The occasion was held at Dlamini Multipurpose centre in Dlamini along Koma Street. The function started at 10h00 and luckily all the invitees were present at that specific time. The venue for the celebration was decorated with all colors of the rainbow. The tables were arranged methodically and strategically in order to create  enough space for the dancing floor. My contemporaries and l had never felt so proud and important like we were on that day. We were ushered in style in the hall with a rendition of songs by Serenaders JORETA choir.

The speakers congratulated and spoke so well about us for having reached this remarkable milestone. I felt pity for the majority of JORETA members who were not part of the occasion probably because of financial constraints. I was requested a day before the occasion to come prepared to give a reply at the end of the programme. In my address I made the audience aware of how important it is to labour purposefully by adding value in the lives of other people. According to Eugene Bell Jr. I quote: “when you aspire to inspire before you aspire, you conspire to inspire even after you pause to respire.” In short,it refers to one taking necessary steps by giving oneself the green light in life. The implication thereof is that during the fixed time that God has given us, one should be proactive and become a catalyst in whatever job one finds himself/herself in to make the world a better place to live in. God has provided each one of us with variety of talents to assist us adapt to environmental challenges as we navigate through life. We should not be like that unprofitable servant in the Bible who was given one talent and failed to take advantage of that moment to multiply its worth to the satisfaction of his master (Matthew 25: 30).Thanks to God that He has protected us to be more fruitful and multiply in our respective vocations and also blessed us to exceed man’s life expectancy by ten years. We further thank God for His tender Mercy, Grace and Peace that transcends all understanding for having kept us alive and kicking thus far. Life is worth living. Abraham Lincoln maintains that “it is not the years in your life that counts but the life in your years.” I have no doubt that the celebrants lived a clean life that is why they are still in a good state of health. Everything is possible under the sun as long as the heart keeps on beating and that the organs of the body are strong enough to sustain you as well. I therefore wish to say to the 2023 octogenarians be proud that your footprints will remain forever in the sand of JORETA history going forward. This celebration was the first of its kind to be conducted in this special way and it might be the last time to experience the same mood in years to come.

For more information and clarity regarding celebrants, please refer to the list of 2023 Octogenarians who honored this day by their presence attached hereto.

In conclusion, I hope next year celebration will be far better arranged because the organisers will have taken cue from 2023 Octogenarian celebration. Furthermore, that all members of good standing will be invited to attend the 2024 Octogenarian celebration without exception. Lastly I would like to express my thanks and appreciation on behalf of 2023 octogenarians for a function which was excellently conducted by the polity of the Association at Mother-body level. Thanks be to God.



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