Africa, Countries, Culture, Ireland, UK

The grand oldest man of South Africa

They breed them tough in South Africa where the oldest man in the world Fredie Blom died this week at the grand old age of 116.

Fredie, who hailed from the Eastern Cape, lived through the Boer War, two world wars, Apartheid, Mandela and the Rainbow Nation.

And in a blow-off to the tobaccostapo Fredie had the last word, or puff, as he smoked very much up until his last breath.

In fact very nearly his last dying wish was to have a cigarette but lockdown had made it more difficult for him to get his tobacco.

Where the township meats: The braai

Fredie’s secret of longevity seemed to be hard work. He was a farm labourer and a construction worker.

And a love of cycling and walking.

And family.

Fredie lost his own, all to the Spanish Flu of 1918, but found a reason to live again.

Meeting the locals

When he met Jeanette at a dance, married her and helped over 46 years to raise her three children with five grandchildren following.

His grandson Andre Naidoo spoke for the whole family when he said: ‘Two weeks ago our oupa (grandfather) was still chopping wood.

‘He was a strong man, full of pride.’

I’ve seen first hand in the Red Location in the New Brighton Township, Port Elizabeth how families live on top of each other.

And I don’t want to leave

In conditions resembling wastelands.

But in the township wealth is measured in love, loyalty… and a good braii (barbecue).

And I’m sure Jeanette will have been waiting for Fredie on a fluffy cloud with a packet of cigarettes.

Just watch out for the falling ash.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.