Winifred Lingeveldt will celebrate her 97th birthday on Friday April 5 but she had a joint party with her eldest son, Abraham, on Sunday March 17. He turned 80.
She grew up with her mother and four siblings in Cape Town, but, in 1971, her family were forced from their home under apartheid.
Winifred’s mother died soon after that.
Winifred met her future husband, Johannes, as he visited a woman who stayed with them.
The two grew fond of each other and dated for a few years before marrying. She was 18. He was 25.
Soon after, they moved to Hanover Park, where Winifred still lives to this day.
The couple had 10 children. Raising them wasn’t easy, says Winifred. She was a domestic worker and Johannes was a taxi driver. He died in his 70s.
Winifred and Johannes enjoyed going out to the movies or playing dominoes together, but, mostly, she says, life was tough and she spent much of her time looking after her children.
“There wasn’t time to have hobbies or do things because I had 10 children to see to and there was always something to do, there were good days and bad days.”
Now she has 50 grandchildren and 100 great-grandchildren.
“Hanover Park has changed a lot since we moved here,” she says. “Now the gangsterism and crime have increased, so I just stay in my house.”
These days, she spends her time reading her Bible, enjoying a cup of tea with her family or playing dominoes with her son, Basil, 50, who says his mom is still quite good at it.
Basil, 50, says his mom was quite strict and so was his dad. Although they were allowed to have friends over, Basil says his dad always kept an eye on them and his mom made sure that they stayed in line.
“My mom managed to raise us well as it was tough sometimes there wasn’t always money. The one thing that we loved was that when we woke up there was porridge always ready.”
Winifred says she thanks God that she has been able to live so long.
“I thank God for the long life and I always try to serve him by reading my Bible as I can’t walk to church anymore.”