Etete gogos turn 100

Thathiwe Zondi has nine children, 25 grandchildren and 34 great grandchildren.

The Etete youth are planning a special party for two of their most senior citizens who are getting ready to celebrate their 100th birthdays this weekend.

Thathiwe Zondi and Mamiketsi Nkopane have spent most of their hundred years gathering memories of their beloved township, yet they have never met.

When the Courier visited Zondi, she was lying on her bed in a two-room house with a leaking roof and unpainted walls – not the place for a sick gogo.

Nkopane, on the other hand lives in a house that was donated to her in 2011, thanks to the efforts of the founder of LikaJehova (Voice of God) Mthokozisi Dlamini and KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu.

Also read: Umhlali Preparatory School celebrates 100 years 

Zondi’s daughter, Sikelelo Zondi had to speak for her mom as she is not well and struggled to speak.

When Zondi got a job on a farm in Umhlali, she moved from Tugela Ferry and became one of the first people to live in Knockout, a suburb of Etete.

“The first standpipe in the township was in our yard and everybody used to collect water here. I remember we ended up being the place where everyone reported too if they had problems with their neighbours. They would eat sugar cane and leave our yard messy,” said Sikelelo.

Mamiketsi Nkopane turns 100 on February 12.

On the other side of the township in the Ekhalafukwe informal settlement, Nkopane, a no-nonsense gogo.

She used to work as a queue marshal at Port Natal Offices in Stanger, where the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices are today.

She was also involved in anti-crime initiatives in the informal settlement.

“If we hear there is criminal in the area, we will go and bring that thief to chief Magwaza and he or she will get a sjambok. No man would abuse a woman in our presence, we would sort him out. I wish this place had more pro-active women like us. Crime would not be a problem as it is now,” said Nkopane.

Nkopane, who lives with her disabled daughter Thandeka, has lost most of her teeth, but she still cannot resist a craving for KFC.

“I would wait for everyone to sleep so that I could eat my KFC alone and in peace. I can share everything with my grandchildren, and I have a lot of them, but not my KFC.”

One of the event organisers, Njabulo Khetshane said they want to celebrate the life of these gogos and they invite anyone who would like to donate a gift.

“The party will be held at the community hall and we are hoping to get a wheelchair for Zondi and building material to build a bathroom for Nkopane because that is what they need the most,” said Khetshane. Contact Njabulo at 060 441 0562.

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  AUTHOR
Sboniso Dlamini
Journalist

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