Namibian super centenarian, Martha Afrikaner dies

KEETMANSHOOP: One of Namibia’s oldest people, Martha Afrikaner who turned 110 years recently, has died at home on a farm 55 km west of Gibeon.

Born on 27 September 1905, the veteran who has outlived many great global events including the two World Wars died on Wednesday around 14h00, according to a grandson Charlie Swartz.

Swartz, 54, said on Thursday that the matriarch’s passing came as a great shock.

“Although naturally we made room for the day she was finally to depart, it still hit us hard – death is what it is; we never want to accept it.”

Swartz said before his grandmother died, she asked for ‘mageu’, a drink made from maize meal and water.

“After having a few sips, she was still bathed and put to bed before she died,” Swartz said.

Recently, Afrikaner’s entire family held a birthday party in her honor at the farm where she lived in the Gibeon district.

Swartz said at that occasion his grandmother appealed for peace among her descendants.

“She said we should forgive each other and take care of one another,” Swartz remembered.

Afrikaner was looked after by a granddaughter Lintina Isaak, 54, who lived with her and a daughter, Josefina Afrikaner, 76, who lived at a house nearby on the same farm.

Swartz said Afrikaner’s wish was to be buried alongside her husband, who died in the 1980s, at Kries, another tiny village approximately 70km east of the farm where the family now resides.

“We don’t have a house of family there, but we will honor her wish and bury her there – there is no question about it,” Swartz said.

The grandson is the son of Afrikaner’s second eldest daughter, Petrina Swartz, 77.

Nampa visited the old lady after her 110th birthday celebrations in October this year, where she fired witty comments and gave possible answers for her long healthy life.

‘Ouma’, as she is known by all, then said she lived by the Ten Commandments and respect for others.

She related how she used to grow up happily on plant-based natural herbs, roots and food from the veld and how she looked after her own livestock.

Her children remembered her as someone who was very loving, but very strict at the same time.

According to a statement released by the family on Thursday, her message to her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren has always been to refrain from alcohol and drugs.

She reportedly also cautioned them never to get ill as “there are not enough hospitals and clinics in Namibia” due to limited Government resources.

She always advised: “Be yourself and believe in God Almighty who created you”, the family said.

SOURCE: THE NIMIBIA PRESS AGENCY