Social Development celebrates Mandela Day with Soweto centenarian

As part of commemorating Mandela Day, Gauteng Department of Social Development observed the day by hosting a birthday celebration for Soweto centenarian, Gogo Maria Khanyisa Kgoete.

Kgoete was born on this day (now celebrated as Nelson Mandela International Day) in 1920 in the former Transvaal in a place called Ga-Sekororo near Tzaneen, in present day Limpopo.

The mother of 9 children, and grandmother of 26 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren, gogo Kgoete says she always looks forward to her birthday every year as she shares her birthday with one of her greatest heroes, the late Nelson Mandela.

The healthy and vivacious great grandmother attributes her many years of living and longevity to hardworking, walking and eating healthy, and these are keeping her as strong.

To her, diet is very important, to the point that she has small garden at her Diepkloof home, in Soweto. “Despite my age, I always make time to go out and look at my garden, and this also gives me time to enjoy the sun and to chat with neighbours”.

Speaking at Gogo’s birthday celebration this morning, MEC Mbali Hlophe congratulated Gogo Kgoete on her 103th birthday and said society must look after the aged as they hold a collective memory of who we are as a nation.

“Getting to this age means a well lived and documented life history. Every parent is a blessing to a child, and have parent aged 103 in our midst is a blessing beyond measure. We need to support all efforts to keep the elderly healthy and well looked after. We saw with Baba Mandela that the elderly are a jewel in our nation, and with other similarly old veterans like Tambo, Sisulu and so on, we saw how they birthed our democracy”, MEC said.

Gogo and family moved to Johannesburg in 1957, where they resided in Alexandra, unfortunately they were forcefully removed by Group Areas Act between 1960 and 1961 to Diepkloof, Soweto, where she is currently residing.

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