Turning 100 years old is a most special occasion which is why the community of Nyanga East rallied together to celebrate the birthday of Nolinet Mangesi.
The great-grandmother was showered with gifts by the community as she marked her centenary on Wednesday August 8.
Ms Mangesi was born in the last year of World War I, living through colonialism, apartheid and a democratic South Africa.
She said even her mother had lived a long life.
“I guess living beyond 100 is in my genes. My mother passed away when she was 106. You can see where I come from,” she said.
Dressed in a suit, Ms Mangesi also attributed her longevity to eating well and having respect for other people.
Her wish is to see her grandchildren grow up like her.
However, she said with crime and other social ills she never thought she would reach the milestone.
“I am the only one left from my parents’ 11 children,” she said.
“I must admit that I never thought I would live this long. But here I am. God has been good to me.”
Ms Mangesi said carefully controlling your diet was another contributing factor to living longer. “All these kinds of foods that you are eating are killing you. I don’t eat everything,” she said.
“Respect for yourself and other people also takes you far,” she said.
Although Ms Mangesi had not expected anyone to celebrate her achievement, she praised those who turned up to honour her.
She said she was not aware that her neighbours and the entire community of Nyanga loved her so much.
Ms Mangesi has seven children, 11 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren and is still active, according to the family.Organisers of her birthday party said they were equally surprised when they were told there was a senior that turned 100 in the area. They said they felt compelled to do something for her.
Speaking to Vukani, Lindi Khuthu, one of the organisers of the party, said:
“Truth be told we are dying very early. It is a blessing to see people who can still live beyond the life expectancy.
“We could not sit and fold our arms when one of our parents is making history. We feel blessed in Nyanga.”
Xoliswa Makasi and Nosisana Nama were also among the party organisers.
They expressed happiness to have a senior citizen in the community turning 100.
Nosisana Nama, another organiser, added that she was grateful to people who made the day possible including the local Pick * Pay store and resident Siyazi Tyatyam.
She said had it not been for them, the day would have been dull.
“The community of Nyanga is amazing, they contributed to the day but there are those who really made it possible for her. We wish her more years of wisdom,” Ms Nama said.