Making chocolate for the masses in an old-age home


The dim light of a biker bar hosts a clutch of muscle for drinks. Construction workers, musicians and businessmen alike gather around their favoured cold brews, easing the tension of another working week. Lifted, sipped and replaced on a stained countertop, a beer breaks an unlikely juxtaposition: an ashtray staring down a brightly-wrapped bar of milk chocolate.

The source of the latter is even more implausible than its presence in the popular pub, which orders the handmade delicacies in bulk. On the other side of town, a different gang of men have met for their alternative afternoon recreation. Led by Lui Comanducci, the Sunnyside Park old-age home’s chocolatiers are hard at work. Today Ken and Gert are on mould duty, making sure that each shell is filled to the brim with delicious chocolate. Gilbert is on the mix, while Tony assists Comanducci with the wrapping. Their ages range from 63 to 90.

“In general people are surprised to see a group of men making chocolates,” says Comanducci, who explains that the project started in December and grew out of a need to raise funds for their home. Churned out through the group’s smooth production line, Sunnyside’s chocolates have been warmly received by the community. Aside from biker bars, mass demand has been generated by schools and individuals. The sweet tooth knows no boundary. The work has brought Comanducci’s crew of pensioners closer than ever. Ambition can be a lifelong companion, as long as positivity exists – an attitude for which all South Africans can strive.