The GAPA Grandmothers
South African Women's Day Event

© Aaron Polikoff

Dynamic Ladies

The Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids (GAPA) group is made up of grandmothers from Khayelitsha, who share their stories, hardships and strength through support groups. They draw hope and love from one another by overcoming their adversities together. Zodwa Femela explained her time at the support group: “Going to the GAPA is so nice. We make beads and knit teddy bears. And we sing! We sing this song ´nevergiveups´ and we cry. Sometimes sad, but more a happy cry.”
©Aaron Polikoff

The ‘nevergiveups’

In 2013, renowned writer Jo-Anne Smetherham and photojournalist Eric Miller collaborated to document the lives of a group of amazingly tough and spirited grandmothers, which they encapsulated in their book 'The nevergiveups’, which pays tribute to the enduring strength found in the dynamic grandmothers that they have encountered.
They met with various women from the GAPA group, who told their life stories of growing up and eventually becoming grandmothers. Who, against all odds, have overcome many struggles with extraordinary power and determination. Struggles such as poverty, losing loved ones to HIV/Aids and abusive relationships are met with a positive attitude and tenacity. The nevergiveups stories are featured on showcasing incredible snippets of the GAPA grandmothers' lives.
The grannies are affectionately known as the ´never give ups´, which illustrates their resilient spirit.