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News - Date: 08 May 2022
Written by: Kaizer Nengovhela / Viewed: 2646
The second-oldest person in the world in all probability lives in the Vhembe District. She is Ms Makwarela Davhana from Muraleni village in the Sinthumule area, who celebrated her 117th birthday on 23 December last year.
The world’s oldest person (verified) up to a month ago, was Ms Kane Takana from Japan. She died at the end of April this year at the ripe age of 119. With her death, the world's oldest person is now Lucile Randon, a 118-year-old French nun. Ms Randon, better known as Sister André, was born on 11 February 1904.
The official list of the world’s oldest women, however, does not include Ms Davhana, as her age has not been verified by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). The GRG is a global organisation of researchers in various fields of gerontology, based in Los Angeles, California, that verifies and tracks supercentenarians (people who are at least 110 years old) and records a verified oldest-people list.
Granny Makwarela was born in December 1904 at Botlokwa in the Capricorn District and grew up at Madabani village, also in the Sinthumule area, before she eventually settled at Muraleni.
When Limpopo Mirror visited her at her home on Sunday, 1 May, it was evident how such an advanced age takes its toll on a person. She is too weak to walk now, and very little is left of her eyesight, but her hearing is still strong and, although she speaks slowly, her mind is still sharp enough to communicate. She even shared some of her memories of the olden days.
“A long, long time ago, we used to live in makeshift thatched huts; there were no houses like what you see today. There were no schools, no clinics, no hospitals or roads. We used to travel long distances on foot, because there were no cars. The elders spent most of their time tilling the land for food and young boys and girls like us were responsible for looking after the goats. We drew water from fountains, unlike what we do today from taps.”
Granny Makwarela’s husband died many years ago. She has seven children, 31 grandchildren and an undisclosed number of great-grandchildren, to whom she often tells stories. One of her daughters, Ms Marandela Davhana, told the newspaper that her mother was her role model.
“We are very lucky to still have her around. We thank God for her life. She brought us up with good values, took us to church and taught us to pray. When our father died, she took on his role as well. I hope that one day I will also live to be as old as her. I have learnt so much about life from her. She is God-loving and compassionate. I am excited that she has lived this long,” she said.
Ms Makwarela Davhana (117) could have made the Guinness World Records as one of the oldest living people in the world. Photo: Kaizer Nengovhela.
Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror more than a decade ago, in 2 000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.