By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA – Nkgono Tsoali Alina Motaung of Letsha Le Maduke in Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality, Free State, recently celebrated her 107th birthday. She attributed her longevity to doing physical labour, which also enabled her to raise her 14 children on her own after her husband departed.
Frail and senile due to old age, Motaung’s face lightened up and her voice became louder as she recounted how she used to stand her own, growing a patriarchal environment.
“I used to herd the cattle, I even played midwife when they gave birth. I learnt how to milk and to plough the fields.”
She credited her long life to respecting her elders, praying and eating healthy.
“I have lived this far because we never ate a lot of fatty and sugary foods like people do nowadays.”
Her birthday celebration was held last Saturday at Tsebo Secondary School where members of her Clan ‘Bataung’ were in attendance.
She was blessed with 14 children, 10 daughters and four sons, but only six of her children survive.
Her seventh daughter, Mmanyoruwe Motaung, 67, says her mother would be remembered for her resilience and instilling good discipline.
“My father died while I was only 14, but my mother managed to raise all of us until we reached our adulthood. I will always cherish her for instilling discipline in us. She was a strict parent.”
This year, the United Nations expect the number of centenarians to rise to approximately 573,000 worldwide.
The U.S. has the highest absolute number of centenarians in the world with 97,000 living in the country. Japan comes second with 79,000 Japanese who are 100 years or older, according to World Atlas. Japan is also where the world’s oldest person lives.