Family and friends of Edna Johannes gathered at her home in Lotus River to celebrate her 100th birthday on Saturday July 15.
The centenarian is in good health and still enjoys reading her Southern Mail.
The former nursing sister retired in 1996 and is well-loved by many. Over the years, she worked at day hospitals and clinics in Retreat, Grassy Park, Durban and Knysna. Near the end of her career, she worked as a health promoting officer.
Born in Wynberg, Ma Edna and her family moved to Ottery when she was six years old. It was here in Ottery, on a dairy farm, where she grew up. Her family was later forced to move because of the apartheid government’s Group Areas Act. As an adult, she settled in Lotus River, where she still lives with her daughter, Carol Prinsloo.
Before she had to depend on her walking stick, Ma Edna used to enjoy going on walks. This, coupled with her love for reading, is what kept her body and mind healthy, she said. Her humour is also “one for the books”.
“I love reading. I still read the Southern Mail. I like reading Mills & Boon books because the stories in there help to keep my blood flowing,” she laughed.
Her daughter, Janet Felix, said her mother always set a good example to her and her siblings, as well as extended family members.
“She is also a very strong woman,” Ms Felix added.
Ms Prinsloo agreed, adding that their mother’s generosity is among the good qualities she has.
“Our mom just gives and gives and we learnt that from her. She has a heart of gold. Everywhere we go, people only have lots of good things to say about her. We treasure her,” Ms Prinsloo said.
Her grandson, Clint Felix, said his grandmother is an inspiration to him.
“She made me a better person when I went through my own challenges. I appreciate the wisdom she has,” he said.
Marjory Cassie, her great niece, said she always admired her aunt’s discipline and work ethic.
“It is a great honour and blessing to have my great aunt Edna. She played a huge role in my life. I am still a hard worker because of her teachings. I remember when she was 85 years old, she used to say that she was going to the old-age home to read to the ‘old people’.
“She has always been young in spirit. Everyone in our family knew they could go to Aunt Edna for whatever assistance they needed. There is always a story to tell about how she helped all of us. She was a very humble nursing sister at Retreat day hospital. Her heart of compassion for the community is outstanding.
“My daughter had to do a school project on apartheid and asked to interview Aunt Edna. By the time we arrived, she wrote everything down. She has an exceptional memory. She spoke about the young boys she treated at the hospital who were injured during the 1976 anti-apartheid uprisings and wondered where they are now,” Ms Cassie said.
Ma Edna lists gardening and travelling as two of her many hobbies, and she and Ms Prinsloo host a Bible-study group at their home once a week.
She has had three daughters (one has since died), eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Her husband died 40 years ago.