Ma Dora celebrates 104 years

Left: Dora le Roux, middle, celebrated her 104th birthday on Tuesday June 13. Here she shares a light moment with, from left, her daughter Joy Minnaar, son-in-law Colin Minnaar, and nieces Claudine Mezichel, Emily Geduld and Daphne van Ster (front).

All roads led to Erica Place old age home in Silvertown, when resident Dora le Roux celebrated her 104th birthday with family and friends on Tuesday June 13.

When asked her secret to this long life, Ma Dora, as she is affectionately known, said: “I am pleased. The Lord is a good Lord to us all.”

She has been a teacher most of her life, and only retired at the age of 75. Naturally, education was very important to Ma Dora, and she instilled this in her children, and all the children she mothered.

Her niece, Daphne van Ster, said as children, they had no choice but to sit with their books when Ma Dora was around.

Ma Dora’s daughter, Joy Minnaar, said her mother taught them to be loyal to God and “to ourselves”.

“She is strict to this day. I would like to believe that this is why all her children and grandchildren are educated. We have doctors, lecturers and lawyers in our family. And it is because of Ma. She also taught us good morals and to depend on God for all things. As strict as she is, she also enjoys making a good joke. She still makes us laugh,” Ms Minnaar said.

The Athlone News jokingly asked Ma Dora if any of her children had given her too much trouble over the years, and in her dignified, quiet nature, she replied: “I must say, I had no problems with my children. Children can be naughty, no one can claim to be 100% good all the time, but they can be well-behaved.”

She was very involved with sport in her younger life, and was a provincial tennis player during her college years.

Apart from teaching, Ma Dora also dedicated a lot of her time to guiding young people at her church. Her house was described by Seventh Day Adventist church elder, Evadne Orange, as a “club house where young people congregated”.

“Many of us are still serving the Lord because of her. I grew up in front of Ma Dora. She was very fond of sport, and after our many soccer and tennis matches, we would look forward to enjoying a nice grilled snoek, with black coffee and home-made wholewheat bread at Ma Dora’s house. Ma Dora’s late husband was also a firm supporter. We used to have good times. Ma Dora is very faithful and strict, and she showed us young people the way we should go. Sy het ons vasgevat,” Ms Orange said.

Ms Minnaar said that apart from Ma Dora’s eyesight, she enjoys general good health. Ma Dora has four children, 19 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.