Nomahobe shares 100th birthday with Madiba

Nomahobe Christina Lugodlo celebrates her 100th birthday today, Wednesday July 18.

A Beacon Valley frail care centre resident had always wanted to meet Nelson Mandela, with whom she shares a special birthday – her centenary.

Nomahobe Christina Lugodlo, who turns 100 today, has been living at Beaconvale Community Frail Care Centre for the past two years.

Madiba would also have celebrated his centenary today and the Nelson Mandela Foundation has called on everyone to follow in Madiba’s footsteps, to “Be the Legacy “, sounding a call to action to society to act every day to meaningfully impact other people’s lives.

Ms Lugodlo moved from her hometown Tsomo, in the Eastern Cape – an almost three-hour drive from Mvezo, Madiba’s place of birth – in 2012 to Khayelitsha to live with her daughter Gladys Nomatola Futshane. She has another daughter Phumla Lugodlo, in Port Elizabeth. Her son Moffette Lugodlo, died at the age of 26 in the 1960s. Her husband Juju Vanada, died in 1992.

Ms Lugodlo said she was heart-broken, when she heard of Mr Mandela’s death on December 5 2013.

Speaking to the Plainsman with the help of carer Sylvia Mphekwana, to translate from isiXhosa to English, Ms Lugodlo said it was by the grace of God that she was still alive.

“I am very happy that I am able to reach 100 because many people die so early,” she said.

Fawzia Cader, Beaconvale centre’s residents’ co-ordinator, calls Ms Lugodlo, who is the only centenarian at the centre, “Gogo” (granny).

A party has been planned in Ms Lugodlo’s honour as she shares the 100-year mark of fame with Madiba.

“It is not always that you meet someone who reaches this age of 100. She is a loveable person and is healthy for her age,” said Ms Cader.

Ms Futshane told the Plainsman, she calls her mother Matsezi, her clan name and said she had taught her compassion. “As poor as my mother was she loves sharing. To the point, where she will give you everything and have nothing left for herself,” she said.

She said her mother never had a house.

“I decided to bring her to Cape Town, so we could look after her,” Ms Futshane said.

She said even though her mother was not very educated, she always valued education. Gladys is a qualified nurse and her daughter Sibulele Futshane, is now a first year Audiology student at the University of Cape Town.

Ms Lugodlo worked most of her life as a domestic – 50years of which she worked away from home in Port Elizabeth .

“My mother was a hard worker, a lady and she wanted nothing but good education for her children,” Gladys said.

She said the secret to her mother’s longevity is eating traditional food. “She does not eat unhealthy fast foods. She only has high blood pressure and she can do most things for herself,” she said.

Ms Lugodlo recalled that she enjoyed attending weddings, where she would sing. The Plainsman coaxed her into sharing a chorus of a hymn Unabantu bakho Thixo (You have your people God). “You have your people God in all times. You keep them safe, you love them in all times,” Ms Lugodlo sang.