After a couple of years on the Governing Body of Huis Nuweland, I was persuaded to apply for position of manager. Not that is was an issue – I have developed a real passion and respect for older persons and I have been using my Mondays to help them for quite a while. As an attorney and fellow citizen of this country, I have been providing various volunteer and free services to older people on Mondays. In November 2019, I formed part of a fact-finding team visiting London to learn more about “ageing people in our new society”. From the global experts there, I learnt about the social and legal implications of the growing cohort of ageing people we currently have. And so, in January 2020, I took up the role of manager at Huis Nuweland. At the same time, I hung up my legal robe behind the door.

I have been anticipating most of the challenges, but certainly underestimated them. Even though I served on the Governing Body, I never realised how big the challenges really were. I was clueless about how old the infrastructure at Huis Nuweland really was. What’s more, after two weeks on the job, I learnt from my colleagues at the World Health Organization of the potential of Covid-19 to spread right around the world. This made me even more worried about our future and that of the most vulnerable among us, like our older persons.

The better I got to know my Badisa colleagues, the more convinced I became that I have joined an amazing team of hard-working, knowledgeable and committed people. Together, we are taking on the biggest international and collective challenge of our generation, and we are doing this with compassion. But back to my first few months on the job.

I would never in my wildest dreams have thought that I would become part of such a dynamic team of people (in the Badisa group). The depth (without exaggerating) and support that I have received as a newcomer from the individuals on Badisa’s Management Programme and from my co-managers was a real revelation to me. I did not expect this.

Would I take up this position again if I had known what was waiting for us on 1 January 2020? The answer is easy: “Yes, most certainly. I will enthusiastically take up the reins at Huis Nuweland again!”

I enjoy my position with all its new and unique challenges. I enjoy the residents, staff and their families (most of the time;-), and I enjoy finding
my feet in the Badisa family. I am grateful that I have answered this calling. It was meant to be. May we all work together to pave the way for those who will be following us. Together, we need to make sure that we adapt to the
rapidly changing world in which we live. We need to urgently look at “active ageing” in a non-discriminatory way and ensure that we encourage this and live this on all levels.

Long live Huis Nuweland! Long live Badisa!

Pieter Swanepoel
Manager: Huis Nuweland

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