By Buhle Andisiwe Made
Joza Location resident Lena Ngquse was born on 22 August 1918 and was celebrated by community members and family for reaching the 105 milestone in a grandiose fete.
During her birthday celebrations, Ngquse said that she is experiencing changes in her body, which is older, worn and more tired, compared to her younger days. Although that may be “Ndiziva kamandi,” she says, reasoning that it could be because of being surrounded by loved ones and feeling blessed, especially being able to share her home with three generations of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “Umzimbha awunahlaba,” she says.
Ward Two councilor Ramie Xonxa organised the momentous occasion for Mama Ngquse, saying, “Siye sabon’ ukuthi kubalulekil’ intoyokuba, noko lengwevukazi sizovuyisana nayo, ngokuba uThixo eyigcinile iminyaka engaka”. Xonxa invited members of her church, the Ethiopian Episcopal Church, and community members to share cake with her.
Ngquse said that she is grateful to have reached such a milestone and further told the audience it is a blessing to be alive and get that age. Ngquse also shares the changes she’s observed throughout her life, mainly those of the different generations and modern society. She adds that respecting parents and elders was critical when she was younger, but she says the youth today do not practice respect. “Elixesha sikulo, lipotyekile,” she says (The times we live in lack morals).
She urges the younger generation to respect each other and their elders to grow up gradually and not chase after worldly pleasures to enjoy their years. She says her heart aches when she thinks about the atrocities she witnesses in the country.
Ngquse recalls that with the changing world, she remembers her first voting experience in a democratic South Africa was in 1994 when former president Nelson Mandela went into office as a result of those elections. “Kwakukuhle,” she says.
Aphiwokuhle Habana, a third-year Radio Journalism student at Rhodes University, compiled audio for this story.