Celebrating a century

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Fit 100-year-old man still fetches firewood in a wheelbarrow

 

BIRTHDAY MILESTONE: Mzwanele Ntezo, seated right, celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday, seen here with his wife Sikelwa, left, and food garden project entrepreneur Minet ‘Rastar’ Nojoko Picture: JON HOUZET
BIRTHDAY MILESTONE: Mzwanele Ntezo, seated right, celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday, seen here with his wife Sikelwa, left, and food garden project entrepreneur Minet ‘Rastar’ Nojoko Picture: JON HOUZET

A NEMATO man who reached a milestone of 100 years last week, attributed his longevity to God and good eating.

Mzwanele Ntezo, who still fetches firewood in a wheelbarrow, turned 100 on October 10, but his family waited till Saturday to celebrate his birthday with a big cake.

Born in Peddie, Ntezo only got married when he was 58, to a woman 22 years younger. His wife, Sikelwa, is now a sprightly 78.

They moved to Fletcherville in 1978 and then came to live in Port Alfred in 1997.

He worked on farms for most of his life, looking after cattle and growing vegetables.

He still grows vegetables, becoming one of the participants in a food garden project initiated by Minet “Rastar” Nojoko.

Nojoko was impressed that Ntezo had reached such a milestone and invited TotT to the family home for his birthday party.

“I grow spinach, cauliflower, beetroot and cabbage,” Ntezo said. The vegetables are for the family’s own consumption and also to sell.

Ntezo, who admitted he also ate meat, said he never took medicine and never had to go to the clinic or hospital. His daughters, Zoleka Mandari and Lindelwa Cekiso, agreed.

He has five children – two sons and three daughters, 18 grandchildren and though he was a late starter, even some great-grandchildren.

He lives with Zoleka, her children and her brother Mzukisi Ntezo. They describe themselves as a very close family who support and love each other.

Asked to remember some significant events in his lifetime, the 100-year-old said: “Many things, too many to name. I like the way my children treat me. They treat me very well – I will never forget that.”

Cekiso said: “I like the way my dad was as a father – he was a good father.”

Looking out for their aged dad, the children are sure to warn him to avoid certain places.

Relating stories about their dad, the siblings said whenever they make him tea, one cup is never enough. He is sure to bang his cup on the table and say, “More tea.”

There were also belly laughs all around when they recalled how their father didn’t like snakes, and once when he saw a suspicious-looking pipe on the ground, beat it soundly with a stick until he realised it was just a pipe.

Another daughter, Ntombi Mandari, said her father’s way of dealing with his children when they were fighting was to tell them: “I won’t separate you, I’m going to eat the one who dies.”

Nojoko said Ntezo was the oldest member of his garden project and was highly respected by all involved in the project.

Although not admitted by the old man, Nojoko also believes smoking dagga contributed to his longevity.

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