Bokmakierie twins continue family legacy

From left, sisters Jean Thomas from Parkwood, Lorraine Rantjelebane from Colorado Park, Belinda George from Morgen Village, Valerie Farrow from Parkwood, Patricia Lakay from Tafelsig and Hanover Parks Valecia Adams pore over family photographs of their parents, Maggie and Joseph Jonstone and other relatives.

If you’re planning to have a baby with anyone of Maggie and Joseph Johnstone’s offsprings, you’re in luck. Considering the family history, you might end up holding two bundles of joy.

Originally from St Helena, Joseph met his wife while working at a clothing store in Cape Town.

The Johnstones, formerly from Bokmakierie, had 18 children which included four sets of twins – Belinda and Brenda, 66; Valecia and Valerie, 64; Jean and Jeffrey, 62; and; Cynthia and Carol, 59.

Much like other big families, hand-me-downs and older siblings caring for the younger ones, were very much a part of the fabric in the Johnstone household

The twins made headlines in the mid-50s when they appeared in the now-defunct Cape Herald, shortly after the birth of the family’s youngest twin set. The Herald was a predecessor of Athlone News and other community papers owned by Independent Media.

On Sunday, some of the siblings gathered at Valecia’s home in Hanover Park. Lecia and Val as they are affectionately called, celebrated their birthday last Wednesday July 13. Dressed in matching blue outfits, the two were joined by their sisters Jean, Belinda, Lorraine and Patricia. Although the last two are not part of a set of twins, each have grandchildren who are.

Lorraine is also the mother of twin sons while Jean’s twin brother Jeff, is the grandfather of twins.

Their eldest brother Joseph, who was named after their father and who died a few years ago, also has twin grandsons.

As things stand, Maggie and Joseph’s decendants include 20 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who are twins.