Khaya Mwelase works overseas as a paramedic but whenever he returns home to Pietermaritzburg, his immediate priority is spending quality time with his 85-year-old grandmother, Girlie Makhathini-Mwelase, doing crazy things together.
Their latest adventure involved him teaching her how to drive at a local soccer field in eSinathingi Village.
And his “Khulu” took to it like a duck to water, maneuvering the Discovery Land Rover, like a pro.
In a video, which has since gone viral, Makhathini-Mwelase, dressed in a blue jersey and beige skirt, calmly steers past football players and locals who also captured the moment on their phones.
Mwelase, who describes his grandmother as his “everything in life”, pumps the music and gives a thumbs up while she steadfastly keeps her eyes on the road ahead.
He tells her in the video to steer carefully and then remarks she drives better than some youngsters.
Mwelase said this week he had shown her the “basics” – where the ignition was, how to hold the steering wheel and how to check her blind spot.
“And I told her to relax and keep calm. She just followed the instructions and she drove. I couldn’t believe it.”
He said he was impressed with her driving skills and they ended up having a lot of fun, even though he got teary-eyed at one point.
“I was so emotional at the end when she told me I have fulfilled her dreams, now she can die in peace. I said nooo Gogo don’t say that, you still have many more years.”
Mwelase said growing up, they survived, thanks to her pension money.
“I don’t know how we managed to survive through this, but we did… Gogo supported me since I was born until I matriculated. Even when I was trying to build my career, she paid for my paramedic fees with her little pension money.”
When the two are together they sing, dance and travel around. She was known for her good advice, Mwelase said.
Makhathini-Mwelase keeps active and spends most of her time in the garden as well as looking after her family.
She also loves going to church.
“I always want to make her happy all the time and give her all the support that she needs. But for old people you don’t have to be so complicated, they appreciate the small things and they will be so happy,” said Mwelase.
He has built her a beautiful home to thank her for supporting the family, saying it was his time to give her all the support she needed.
“I’m so blessed to have her in my life, thanks to God. She always tells me not to forget where I came from and I should always do good to others and remain humble. It is a blessing,” Mwelase said.