90th birthday wishes for Ethel

Ethel Demas

Family members of New Horizon resident Ethel Demas, who turned 90 last week, speculate that her secret to longevity was staying away from cigarettes and alcohol.

The senior’s birthday was on Wednesday November 15, but they celebrated it with her family and friends, at Die Duine, on Saturday November 18.

Southern Mail spoke to the vibrant Ms Demas before the celebration.

Although a little hard of hearing, she was visibly excited when she heard her story was going to be printed in the newspaper.

“I was born and grew up in Langebaan, but I got married in Cape Town to my ‘outjie’ Peter who died eight years ago.”

They had four daughters and four sons – Vera, Emily, Christine, Lorraine, John, Peter, Harold and Trevor.

Two of her two daughters, Emily Esau, third eldest of her children, and Lorraine Adonis, the youngest, were with her during the interview.

Ms Esau said: “My mother lives with me and I believe her strict ways of our upbringing made us who we are today, for example teaching us to have respect for older people.”

Ms Demas used to walk a lot, she said, but she developed arthritis in one of her knees.

While she is not as active as she was in the past, Ms Demas bragged that she had been “a very good netball player” in her day. “I was a shooter. I threw that ball high into the hoop,” she said.

Netball was her passion, and her four daughters followed in her footsteps. “We all played netball while my four brothers played soccer,” said Ms Esau.

Ms Demas also loved to dance and her favourite food was fish. Ms Adonis added that Ms Demas has 21 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Ms Esau said they had celebrated her mother’s birthday every decade since her 60th birthday. “We are always looking forward to see all the family together.”