There was food, prayer and lots of love when Strandfontein resident Moerida Brenner celebrated her 90th birthday on Thursday April 14, surrounded by her extensive family and many friends.
Ms Brenner partied from the morning until 11.30pm in the evening, at her home, where furniture was pushed into corners or up against walls, to make room for a lifetime’s worth of family and friends.
Guests were welcomed by the songs of the Woodlands Islamic Ladies Thikr Jamaah.
Every so often the din of laughter, chatting and chewing would be interrupted by the sound of “crew coming through!” as a family members ferried benches, tables, platters of food or beverages around to accommodate more guests.
Ms Brenner sat quietly in the corner, behind her big birthday cake, which was donated by Checkers Weltevreden, where she was greeted, hugged, congratulated and fed.
“She eats very well,” her daughter Gamieda Brenner said.
“If you ask her, she’ll say: ‘No, I don’t want to eat.’ But if you put the food in front of her she will eat. I’ve never seen an old lady who eats so much.”
Ms Brenner wears many hats: she is a mother of nine children – aged between 49 and 70, a grandmother of 28, a great-grandmother and a great-great-grandmother of six.
“We’ve lost count,” her youngest child Rufiah Brenner said, when the Plainsman asked how many great-grandchildren her mother had.
And most of them crowded into the Strandfontein home, along with the many friends Ms Brenner made in all the places she’s lived and worked.
“And she worked hard. She’s very active and has lots of friends,” Rufiah said. “And the children kept her busy.”
“She used to work in the clothing factory her whole life,” Gamieda said.
Ms Brenner is a widow as her husband passed away 24 years ago.
The large Brenner family lived in Grassy Park until 1986 when they moved to Mitchell’s Plain.
Ms Brenner stayed in Gazelle Street, Eastridge, until the last of her children grew up and moved out.
The family then sold the home and Ms Brenner moved to Strandfontein, under the care of her youngest daughter, Rufiah.
She is still in excellent health, Gamieda said.
Rufiah adds: “She’s doesn’t take any tablets, no medication, just a half a Disprin every two days.”
When asked what the secret was to their mother’s long life, Rufiah said: “She is a giver.”