100 years old and still on the go

Members of the Druiwevlei Seniors Club surround Maud Chippendale on her special day.

Serving God, a good dose of humour, an active lifestyle, and living each day with gratitude – this, according to Maud Chippendale, is what secured her 100 years of life.

On Tuesday April 25, Ms Chippendale’s fellow Druiwevlei Seniors’ Club members gathered at Saambou Primary School’s hall, where they gave her a memorable 100th birthday party.

The centenarian is originally from Kimberley, and moved to District Six in 1932 as a 15-year-old. She lived there for 30 years, before she was forced to move to Manenberg in 1962, after the apartheid government declared District Six a whites-only area.

Ms Chippendale’s daughter, Brenda Temboes, 72, a retired nurse, said she had fond memories of growing up in District Six, saying it was there where she was introduced to her mother’s active lifestyle.

“My mother used to run with the minstrel groups through the streets of District Six. She was always very active and involved with sports. She always looked good for her age, and kept her age a secret for a long time – even from us – her children. The first party she had was for her 80th birthday,” Ms Temboes said.

Ms Chippendale worked at restaurants and hotels for many years, and it was while she worked at the Mount Nelson Hotel, that she met many prominent people from across the globe.

“There were lots of important people at the hotel. I remember one day, the wife of an important man – his surname was Khan – complained that her feet were tired. I offered to wash and massage her feet, and she gave me a huge tip,” Ms Chippendale said.

Her memory is impeccable, and while chatting to the Athlone News, Ms Chippendale joked throughout the conversation.

She said there were only five men in their seniors’ club, and they often bore the brunt of her and her fellow members’ jokes.

Ms Chippendale is also the oldest member of the Anglican Church of Reconciliation’s Church Lads and Girls Brigade, and is ranked as Honourable Second Lieutenant.

Apart from raising her own three children, Ms Chippendale also helped to care for her late sisters, as well as their offspring.

She was the oldest in her family, and often when there were challenges, the family would come to “Tietie”, as she was known, to help out.

“Whenever something happened, they would come to me. I always believed that one must keep one’s word and help where you can, and that is why God blesses you. You might think that once your children are married, then you have gotten rid of them, but that is not the case. So whatever my children needed, even after they were married, I would do it for them. God will bless you.”

Speaking about keeping active, Ms Chippendale added: “My motto is that when you are old, don’t sit the whole day. If you do this, your limbs just get stiff. Stand up and move. I still take the taxi to the mall, and sometimes the drivers are so nice, that they give me a free ride.

“Also, I want to urge everybody to thank God before they go to sleep and to thank God when they wake up.”

Fatima Manassa, who is a caterer and runs the Manenberg Safe House, in conjunction with Child Welfare, was among the organisers of the event.

The children in Ms Manassa’s care wanted to do something special for Ms Chippendale, and offered to decorate the hall while Ms Manassa cooked all the food for the birthday party.

“Celebratinga 100th birthday is a big deal, and we wanted to make it special for aunty Maud. This event was organised just two days before her birthday, because we were waiting on funding to come. When the funding didn’t come, people donated cakes and snacks, and others donated money.

“It was just amazing how it all came together. We arranged this whole thing, and catered for 70 people, with just R2 200 that we collected in donations. Everything we did came from the heart, and just seeing the smile on her face made it all worth it. I can’t believe that she is still walking at the age of 100,” Ms Manassa said.

Fouzia Isaacs, who also assisted with the arrangements, said while many negative things were being said about Manenberg, “there are many great things happening in Manenberg. When we stand together, amazing things happen and we all work well together”.

Ms Chippendale had three children -one of her sons died five years ago – and she also has 17 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, and is also a great-great-grandmother.