The recent death of a member of one of Tafta’s founding families, Peter Asher (1927-2021), reminds us of the richness of our heritage as an organisation. What better time than Heritage Month to look back over the past 63 years to 1958 – when a group of concerned citizens, led by John Conradie, established Tafta to alleviate suffering and distress among Durban’s elderly.
At the time, Peter’s mother, Mary Asher, was a noted community worker and a city councillor. At the invitation of John Conradie, she became the first chairperson of the Tafta board, a position she held until her retirement. Peter served as a volunteer before joining the board in 1981. He was elected chairman two years later.
It was Peter who introduced the Life Rights concept to Tafta, after learning how successful this was in the Cape. The first complex to offer Life Rights was St Martins Village in Sydenham, followed by Tafta Park in Hilary.
Peter was also involved in the decision to implement frail care units at some of our Homes, and helped set up the central Cook ‘n Care facility in Pinetown, which produced meals for all Tafta Homes.
Peter met his wife to be, Josephine, in London in 1949 and they married after a whirlwind 3 month courtship. The marriage lasted 71 years until she passed away last year at the age of 103. The couple had two sons, one of whom died at 45 as a result of heart disease. The other, Anthony, is a professor in the University of New South Wales, and lives in Sydney, Australia. He has three sons, all of whom are married, successful and live in America and Australia.
Together, Peter and Josephine served Tafta for 60 years. They spent the past 19 years living at Robert Storm House in Cambridge Gardens. Peter went blind and his wife spent the last 12 years of her life in a wheelchair. Nevertheless, the couple retained their sense of joy and love for life and each other. Peter was proud that Tafta has remained at the forefront of elder care in the country and equally proud when he was made an honorary lifetime member.