Mandela Day: Khayelitsha celebrates a special 103rd birthday

By Buziwe Nocuze

The Khayelitsha community in Cape Town came together in a joyous celebration to honour the extraordinary life of a 103-year-old woman who shares her birthday with Nelson Mandela.

Nohayilothi Manisi was born in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape exactly two years after Mandela who was born in 1918.

Nohayilothi shared with Scrolla.Africa the secrets behind her longevity, stressing the importance of the two “selfs”: self-respect and self-care.

“I am proud because I am not taking or using any medication, and I don’t have high blood pressure or diabetes. This is not by luck, but rather the result of the way I carried myself while growing up, which played a significant role in reaching these years,” said Manisi.

Having been blessed with eight children — six girls and two boys — and many grandchildren, Manisi finds herself with four surviving children today; they have all reached pension age.

Despite her impressive age, Manisi doubts that the current generation will experience the same longevity.

“Today’s children lack respect for their elders. They compete over meaningless things that bring no positive impact to their lives, except exposing themselves to dangerous situations,” she lamented.

Overwhelmed with gratitude, Manisi expressed her appreciation for those who organised the birthday celebration and presented her with a beautifully adorned cake.

“It was a surprise. I had no idea they had planned something so remarkable for me. I am deeply touched by their gesture.”

Manisi, whose favourite meal is a generous bowl of samp and sour milk, holds no qualms about foregoing meat.

Vuyiswa Mlungu, a 31-year-old granddaughter, expressed immense gratitude for the presence of her grandmother.

“We are blessed to have her in our lives. We learn a great deal from her. She remains strict, forbidding anyone from venturing outside at night, and she constantly emphasises the importance of conducting ourselves responsibly,” said Mlungu.

Myolisi Magibisela, Sanco convener, stressed the significance of celebrating Manisi’s birthday.

“While we commemorate the life of Mandela, we also recognise the immense importance of honouring Manisi. She holds a special place in our hearts and through this celebration, we want to show her love and care,” said Magibisela.

Pictured above: Nohayilothi Manisi celebrating her birthday in Khayelitsha, surrounded by family members and community members

Image source: Buziwe Nocuze

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