‘A blessing that can’t be described in words’ – Gogo Ellen Makhoba celebrates 109th birthday

January 6, 2023 0 By Cypher9ja



The community of Mofolo North in Soweto came out in numbers to celebrate the 109th birthday of gogo Ellen Makhoba. Makhoba was born on 5 January, 1914, in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal. She was the last born and only girl in a family of six.

Yesterday, a jubilant Makhoba said she was very excited to be able to reach 109, as many people do not reach this milestone. She said felt blessed because, even at her advanced age, she still does not need to visit a doctor.

Makhoba lives to tell many tales
Gogo Ellen Makhoba celebrating her 109th birthday at Nazarene Church in Mofolo North, 05 January 2023. Picture by Sibongumenzi Sibiya

‘Grace of God’

“I got to this age by the grace of God. I don’t have to go to a doctor because I don’t have high blood pressure, I don’t have sugar diabetes and I do not take any medication,” Makhoba said.

She said the secret to live this long was for one to respect their bodies, elders and parents. Makhoba spends her days praising the Lord and was also happy she had family members who loved her, she said.

Speaking about the Covid pandemic where elderly citizens were the most vulnerable people, Makhoba said she never feared she could lose her life because she always prayed to God to preserve her life.

ALSO READ: Life expectancy in SA ‘can increase by 6.9 years by 2040’

“I have lived a very long time but I have never experienced that flu that forced churches and schools to close. I felt like Satan had locked us in prison but I always prayed for the Lord to protect me,” Makhoba said.

One of her grandchildren, Ayanda Makhoba, said the family was blessed to have Makhoba in their lives as she has been a fount of knowledge to them.

“It is a blessing that cannot be described in words. When you are around her, there’s nothing you lack; be it spiritual or cultural. She is the person with jokes and we are always laughing.”

Gogo has 109th birthday bash
Gogo Ellen Makhoba celebrating her 109th birthday with her grandkids and great-grandkids at Nazarene Church in Mofolo North, 05 January 2023. Picture by Sibongumenzi Sibiya

Makhoba a hard worker

Ayanda said Makhoba has been excited for a while and looking forward to her birthday celebration.

“She didn’t even sleep [on Wednesday], she was as excited as a child who is going on a school trip. She even woke up before anyone wanting to bath and to get ready,” she said.

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Her grandmother spends most of her days with her great-grandchildren playing cards and other games, she said.

“She doesn’t get bored and she has never been a person who gets bored because she has always kept herself busy.”

Gogo has 109th birthday bash
Gogo Ellen Makhoba celebrating her 109th birthday at Nazarene Church in Mofolo North, 05 January 2023. Picture by Sibongumenzi Sibiya

Ayanda described her grandmother has a hard worker.

“She grew up farming in Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal and she brought that mentality when she came to Johannesburg. She even used to farm here in the city,” Ayanda said.

ALSO READ: Covid-19 pandemic reduces life expectancy in SA by three years

“She believes in order to eat, you have to work. She has never been employed but she has never slept without eating, because she always found a way. As a family, she introduced us to prayer and we never sleep without praying at home. She taught us we need to praise the Lord.”

– lungam@cypher9ja.co.za