Auntie Annie, 111, dies

Annie Adonis when she turned 111 last year, at Nerena Place Old Age Home in Bishop Lavis.

Hundreds of people gathered at St George’s Anglican Church in Silvertown on Saturday February 9, to bid farewell to Anna Johanna Adonis, who died on Friday February 1, at the age of 111.

Ma Annie, as she was affectionately known, was the oldest member of the church and was one of the six founding members of St George’s church’s Anglican Women’s Fellowship.

She lived a fairly independent life in her latter years, and it was only after her 110th birthday that she became frail.

Her birthday has been celebrated by the congregation every year since her 80th birthday. Her nephew, Edward Johannes, described her birthday celebrations as something like an institution for the parishioners.

Reverend Anthony Williams said they have lost an icon.

“It’s a relief that she did not suffer. We celebrate and honour God for her beautiful life. She was a true servant of God. What an honour for those who knew her. We were all encouraged by her simple, but genuine love for God.

“Aunty Annie loved this church. She used to come and clean the church. One day I gave her a lift home after church, and when we got to her home, I saw a walker right by the door. When I asked why she did not bring it with her, she said that she does not want to be seen using it in public.

“She was a beautiful woman and she loved to sing. She also had no chronic illnesses,” Reverend Williams said.

Mr Johannes described his late aunt as a staunch Christian.

“She was someone who was not scared to say what she thought. She was very straightforward. She was a mother to all of us – someone you could confide in – and she would always point you in the right direction,” he said.

Another nephew, Reverend Edward Delport, agreed that she was a mother to them.

“She did not only mother her nephews and nieces, but she was a mother to a bigger part of this world. Everybody was her family. We will remember her legacy and what she left behind. She set a wonderful example for all of us, and we need to follow in her footsteps,” Reverend Delport said.

Ma Annie was the eldest and last surviving of eight siblings.

She moved to Cape Town when she was 16 years old, and worked as a domestic worker in Sea Point. In 1930, she and her husband, Edward Adonis, moved to Athlone. He died in 1953, at the age of 52. She then lived alone in her Kewtown flat, up until the age of 92, when her family felt it was too risky for her to live alone, and she moved to her niece’s home in Belgravia Estate.

Ma Annie had no children of her own, but she helped to raise her sister’s 14 children, among others.