Monday, June 27, 2022

‘World’s oldest woman’ celebrates 128th birthday and says ‘bury me well when I die’

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128-year-old Johanna Mazibuko claims to have been born in May 1894 and says that when she eventually dies her relatives must “bury me well so that I never bother them”.

Johanna Mazibuko is believed to be the oldest living person in the world.

The woman, from Jouberton, Klerksdorp, in South Africa’s North West Province, is believed to have celebrated her 128th birthday on Wednesday May 11.

She was born the eldest of 12 on a corn farm in the Ottosdal region and three of her siblings are still alive today.

Although she doesn’t remember her childhood very well, she remembers the time when there was a plague of locusts on the farms.

She said: “There were some that we could catch and eat. It was like eating meat. We would just fry them and eat them like that, just like that.”

However, Johanna says that her childhood diet consisted mainly of fresh milk and wild spinach.

She said: “Now I eat modern food. I’m used to it, but I miss the food I grew up with.”

“We lived so well on the farms. There were no problems,” she says.

Johanna married an elderly widower named Stawana Mazibuko, although she cannot remember exactly when.

She said: “I was married to an older man. His first wife had died. He was an independent man. He had a horse-drawn carriage and cows. I would milk the cows and make butter for sale made me forget my life before him. I wasn’t missing anything.”

With Stawana she had seven children, two of whom are still alive today.

In addition to her two children, Johanna has around 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

After the hitchhiker, Johanna earned her living doing housework for farms.

She said: “I ironed and cleaned; the people were nice. This is the life I want to return to. I don’t know why I came to Jouberton because life is tough here.

“If you don’t have money, you suffer. On the farms, we lived off the things we farmed. We would also get rations. At the end of the year we would get sacks of corn and we would go and sell them and make money.”

Johanna is somewhat hard of hearing these days, but can still see. She can even move around the house, if only with the help of a frame.

She said: “My body is stiff. When I walk, I walk like a child.

Johanna has a caregiver named Thandiwe Wesinyana who has been living with her since 2001.

Thandiwe said of their bond, “I can’t sleep unless I’m next to her. When I come back she will also say that she couldn’t sleep. She says she just sits by the window, looks at the gate and wonders when I’ll be back.”

Matlosana Mayor James Tsolela previously announced that the municipality gifted her a sofa for her special day.

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