Celebrating a milestone under lockdown

Emma Ligwa, from Ottery, is celebrating her 100th birthday under lockdown.

A feisty Emma Ligwa lives a very organised life and with hard work and independence she reached her 100-year milestone on Monday April 20.

However, much to her disappointment, the birthday party which her family had planned for her could not go ahead due to the national lockdown to curb Covid-19.

The Ottery resident still walks and collects her pension at Hypermarket.

She gets up at 6am and cleans and cooks herself while making sure the others know she is in charge of her home.

Although she didn’t get her birthday wish to celebrate with all her family from the Cape and as far as Port Elizabeth, she understood that it was not possible, said granddaughter Karen Ligwa.

The centenarian, who is very particular about her surroundings, often gets upset with the loiterers in her front yard who sit around smoking dagga.

“She often complains about wishing someone could build her a Vibracrete fence to prevent these people from invading her space.”

Ms Ligwa said her granny had been very scared of catching the coronavirus and she “panics when one of the loiterers coughs or sneezes and she chases them away”.

Shireen Moses, her eldest grandchild, says Ms Ligwa had 10 children and the surviving five children had been looking after her.

Two of her daughters are nurses who live at the back of her property and they make sure that she gets her blood pressure and heart medication on time.

Ms Ligwa has a very active mind and still watches the news to keep herself up to date with current affairs.

“On her birthday we had cake, but only a few people were invited to wish her. She belongs to the Old Apostolic church in Ottery and one of the pastors, who we do not know as he was not from the church in Ottery, as well as ward coun-
cillor William Akim came to see her.”

The family have been giving Ms Ligwa a big party, including lunch and dessert, every year since she turned 90.

Ms Moses said another granddaughter, Maureen Ligwa lives with her and takes her everywhere she wants to go.

Born and raised in Graaff Reinet, Ms Ligwa had always been an independent woman who was already working at the age of nine, when she and her sister used to wash people’s dishes.

She didn’t have an easy life. “She met her husband Piet while in her teens and got married in Richmond, said Ms Moses.

She worked as a domestic worker for many households. However, she moved to Koek se Bos, in Grassy Park, after she and her husband separated.

Ms Moses said Ms Ligwa remembers everything about the old days. With over 50 grandchildren, the “5th generation had already started.”

Ms Moses sees her granny as a role model who knew how to work with money as she managed to budget every month.

Another trait of Ms Ligwa is that she can be humorous at times but teaches her family to respect their parents and to work hard.

She was also an advocate for single women and often reminded them never to “depend on a man, even when you’re married”. And “Make sure you open a banking account for yourself, just in case some-
thing happens,” her granddaughter said.