7 kids, 50 grandchildren and over 2 dozen great grandchildren - SA's oldest gogo has died in her home

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Gogo Johanna Mazibuko passed away in her home three days after she was discharged
Gogo Johanna Mazibuko passed away in her home three days after she was discharged
Papi Morake

She has lived through it all – two world wars, two pandemics and everything else in between.

South Africa’s oldest woman, Gogo Johanna Mazibuko, has died at the ripe age of 128 years old.

Born and raised on a maize farm in Ottosdal, North West, Gogo Johanna never went to school. She could not read or write. She was the first of 12 children, only three of whom are still alive.

She married a widower with lots of cows, and the lovebirds had seven children, four boys and three girls. Now Gogo Johanna leaves behind two children, 50 grandchildren and over two dozen great-grandchildren.

Gogo Johanna’s sister has a daughter-in-law whom she considered as her own.

Almost 30 years ago, that daughter-in-law, Thandiwe ‘Mmalerato’ Wesinyana, became Gogo Johanna’s caregiver and the two developed a strong bond. Thandiwe called Gogo Johanna Ouma and she would say Mmalerato.

They met when Gogo Johanna was 100 years and she told Mmalerato that she wanted to die in her own house. This month, that wish has come to pass.

Mmalerato tells Drum that she can’t confirm the cause of death however, this year on Valentine’s Day, Ouma, was hospitalized, and she wasn’t feeling well.

“Her left side of her body was numb, the doctors said it might be a stroke. They gave her high blood medication and painkillers. She came back home on 28 February, and three days later she passed away.”

Read more | Relatives of boy who reported mom’s disappearance to cops are haunted by image of her rotting corpse

Mmalerato was shocked when she heard that Ouma might have had a stroke.

“The first time I met Ouma she was turning 100 years, at that time she was still fresh. She did not have diabetes, high blood, and all the chronic sicknesses that old people have. Until now in 2023, she was still in good shape, but she was just aging.”

She says in three decades she spent with Ouma, she has never had complaints from her or complaints about her. They lived at Ouma’s house in Jourbeton.

“We stayed in her place because she refused to come to stay with me. She told me that she wants to die in her house and that happened. I am sure she died in peace because she died where she wanted.

“I was not in the house when she passed away, I went out to the supermarket. I take it that she didn’t want me to see her take her last breath, but my sister was by her side.”

Mmalerato says she treasures the moments she spent with Ouma.

“The years were filled with nothing but wise words, kindness, and love.

Read more | Family and neighbours honour family man who was killed after he tried to stop a hijacking

“She loved her family. One of the last things she said to me was that should take care of the family. I don’t know how I am taking her death yet, now I am on the road arranging for the funeral happening on 11 March at her home. I think everything will dawn on me once everything is done.”

She says she was always fascinated by the fact that Ouma is old and still treated people with respect.

“Staying in the same house meant that we did everything together and now I lost my prayer, tea, and gossiping partner.

“She was fun, and I always laughed when I was with her. I don’t know what things will be like without her. Ouma was loved and most people are shattered to learn about her death. My heart is sore.”

Mmalerato says she will continue to go to church and take care of the family.

“I will also only eat red meat, not chicken intestines because Ouma told me they will make me love boys," she says with a laugh.

Show Comments ()