It’s a milestone only a few will reach, but 109-year-old Ma Nora de Kock, from Sarepta, Kuils River, is one of those who have seen more than a century of change.
She believes most people have lost respect for others and themselves, not living in peace and love with one another and losing track of religion.
She feels it’s her adherence to these very things that has helped her live such a long life.
On Sunday May 12, Ms De Kock celebrated her birthday with a special visit from Premier-elect Alan Winde, who was accompanied by Ward 19 councillor Ricardo Saralina, Ward 11 councillor Desiree Visagie and members of the Kuils River community. When Northern News visited her home before the party, she was holding onto a pit bull guard dog, saying, “kom deur, hy sal nie byt nie. Ek’s nog sterk.”
She said she couldn’t believe she had made it to 109 until she was reminded about her birthday party.
“Ek voel nog steeds jonk,” she said.
She said she cooked her own food, cleaned up around the house and sometimes walked to the shop herself, although, she added, her legs had been giving her a bit of a problem of late.
“Ek dans nog in die kerk,” she said while moving her hips.
Ms De Kock has outlived all 12 of her siblings but has two daughters and a son, seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and eight great-great grandchildren (“Ma de Kock turns 107,” Northern News, May 17, 2017).
She remembers that she was born in Paarl but moved to Kalkfontein when she was less than a year old.
Ms De Kock spent two years at St George’s Christian School in Sarepta until she was sent to work on a family farm at age 8.
“If you do not have education today, you cannot have a job, but in our days we were forced to work from a very young age.”
She had two men who were her children’s fathers, and she refused to get married and change her surname.
The centenarian’s advice to future generations is to have respect, do well in school and “trust in God”.