Mother-of-seven Johanna Mazibuko died in her Jouberton, North West Province, home on March 3, and would have been 129 in May, local reports said. Those close to her said she had ID documents that prove she was born on May 11, 1894, and grew up on a maize farm. She never went to school and could not read or write, they said.
A woman said to be the world’s oldest person has died in South Africa at the age of 128 having lived through three different centuries. Speaking to News24, her caregiver and daughter-in-law Thandiwe Wesinyana said Mazibuko may have died from a stroke. Mazibuko told the publication on her 128th birthday: ‘I am amazed at why I am still here after so many years. Why am I still here? People around me have been dying.
Johanna Mazibuko Age
Johanna Mazibuko was 128 years old.
‘World’s oldest woman’ dies aged 128
‘When will I die? What’s the point of being alive? The world has tired me because I am just sitting here doing nothing,’ she said. Mazibuko will be buried on Saturday in Jouberton, Klerksdorp She was one of 12 siblings of which three younger ones are still alive. Illiterate, she told News24: ‘We lived so well on the farms. There were no problems then. I can’t remember my childhood well but I do remember a locust infestation.
‘There were ones we could catch and eat. It was like you are eating meat. We would just fry them and eat the like that just on their own. ‘I grew up healthy eating mostly fresh milk and wild spinach. Now I eat modern food. I am used to it but I miss the food I grew up on’. She married an older widower Stawana Mazibuko, but cannot remember when. She said his first wife had died and he owned cows and she would make butter.
Johanna said: ‘He made sure I did not want for anything’. They had 7 children, two of whom are still alive, and has over 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren and is being mourned in South Africa. Mazibuko survived both World Wars as well as two global pandemics (Covid-19 and the Spanish Flu). She was alive during Queen Victoria’s rein in Britain, the Wright brother’s first flight and the first Russian revolution.
Caregiver Thandiwe said she took her into the hospital on February 14 and was treated for a stroke and was discharged on February 28. She died at home three days later and will be buried on Saturday in Jouberton. Thandiwe told News24: ‘We loved to pray together and spent most of our days drinking tea and talking. I don’t know who I’m going to have fun with anymore.
‘A wound has opened, my heart is sore, and I am shattered. The community is saddened. We’ve all lost a mother’ she said. Officially, the world’s oldest person is a San Francisco-born woman, aged 115. She was handed the title after the death of French nun Sister André, 118, earlier in 2023.
At the time of her birth Maria Branyas Morera – confirmed by Guinness World Records as the oldest person – was suffering from a second wave of the Bubonic plague. She is now considered a ‘supercentenarian’ – a title given to people once they pass the age of 110.
Morera, who has three children, 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, attributes her old age to ‘order, tranquillity’ and ‘staying away from toxic people’. And despite her age, she is active on social media, frequently posting on Twitter with the help of her daughter. She is also a keen piano player.
Both Morera and Sister André survived a bout of Covid-19, making them the two oldest-known people to have survived the deadly virus. In 2021, it was claimed that an Eritrean man who died in September that year had been 127. Natabay Tinsiew’s family claimed that local records showed he was born in 1894, saying he was present when his village celebrated his 120th birthday in 2014.
The oldest-ever living person verified by Guinness was Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died aged 122 years and 164 days in 1997. Most centenarians (a person who has reached the age of 100 years) are found in the world’s so-called blue zones, where people live longer than average, such as Okinawa in Japan or on the Italian island of Sardinia.
But France, while not considered a blue zone, nonetheless has 30,000 centenarians, according to statistics institute Insee, with around 40 of them 110 or older. Last year Brazilian officials claimed to have found a woman who was 121 years old living in a small city in the state of Bahia.
The woman, called Maria Gomes dos Reis could have been born on June 16, 1900, making her by far the oldest person in the world. However, this has not yet been confirmed by, with her family needing to pay 4,000 Brazilian reais, around £640, and provide legal documents proving her age to Guinness World Records.
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