A woman who is claimed to be the oldest in the world has died at the age of 128 in South Africa. Johanna Mazibuko, a mother to seven, died in her home in Jouberton, North West Province, home on March 3, and would have been 129 in May according to local reports.
Those close to her claim to have ID documents that prove she was born on May 11, 1894.
They add that she grew up on a maize farm and could not read or write, having never gone to school.
Speaking to News24, her caregiver and daughter-in-law Thandiwe Wesinyana said Mazibuko may have died from a stroke.
On her 128th, Ms Mazibuko told the outlet: “I am amazed at why I am still here after so many years. Why am I still here? People around me have been dying.”
She added: “When will I die? What’s the point of being alive? The world has tired me because I am just sitting here doing nothing.”
Mazibuko will be buried on Saturday in Jouberton, Klerksdorp, and was one of 12 siblings – of which now just three are still alive.
Describing her upbringing, she previously told News 24: “We lived so well on the farms. There were no problems then. I can’t remember my childhood well but I do remember a locust infestation. There were ones we could catch and eat. It was like you are eating meat. We would just fry them and eat the like that just on their own.
“I grew up healthy eating mostly fresh milk and wild spinach. Now I eat modern food. I am used to it but I miss the food I grew up on.”
She could not remember when she married widower Stawana Mazibuko, but said that he “made sure I did not want for anything”, and owned cows while she would make butter.
Together the pair had seven children – two of whom are still alive – and over 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
With a life spanning three centuries, Ms Mazibuko survived both World Wars as well as two global pandemics in the form of Covid-19 and the Spanish Flu.
She saw the duration of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, as well as the Wright brothers’ first flight, and the Russian revolution. She also experienced several landmark moments in her country’s history, including independence from the UK, ceding from the Commonwealth, and both the introduction and ending of apartheid.
Her caregiver, Thandiwe, said she was taken into hospital on February 14, before being treated for a stroke and discharged on February 28. She died three days later, and will be buried this Saturday in Jouberton.
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Thandiwe said: “We loved to pray together and spent most of our days drinking tea and talking. I don’t know who I’m going to have fun with anymore. A wound has opened, my heart is sore, and I am shattered. The community is saddened. We’ve all lost a mother.”
Official records state that the oldest person alive is San Francisco-born Maria Branyas Morera, who is 115 years old.
And despite her age, she is active on social media, frequently posting on Twitter with the help of her daughter, and is a keen piano player.
Both Morera and Sister André – the last record-holder for the world’s oldest person at 118, until she died earlier this year – survived a diagnosis of Covid-19, making them the two oldest-known people to have survived the deadly virus.
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