The University of the 3rd Age, Cape Town (U3A C.T.) is the springboard from which all U3A activities in South Africa took off. It was launched at the millennium, has grown by leaps and bounds, splitting itself and giving birth to offshoots along the way. The objective is to offer mental and physical stimulation and socialisation to senior citizens, through opportunities for life-long learning for learning’s sake, in the company of interested peers.
Pre-Covid plenary meetings were, until recently, held monthly at the Baxter Theatre Complex. Here, audiences of (for 20 years since the year 2000) 400 to 600 people, were addressed by a roll-call of eminent speakers on relevant topics. More than 70 different courses at any one time were presented by volunteer course leaders in cost-free venues – members’ homes, municipal library activity rooms, public rooms of retirement villages, communal halls. Day excursions to cultural destinations enriched the menu, and wonderful bus tours criss-crossed the country.
Temporarily, we hope, all these face-to-face activities have, of course, had to be put on hold. We have, however, replaced them with a range of more than 20 varied Zoom courses, regular quizzes of all sorts, and two crossword puzzles weekly. The silver lining is that distance has disappeared. No more traffic and parking problems! Our offerings are now available to all U3A members in South Africa – and further afield.
The cost of all this mental stimulation and fun is the princely sum of R40 per annum, plus R10 joining fee.