WATCH: Kenilworth resident Ma Agnes turns 100 years old
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Cape Town - Kenilworth resident Agnes Bezuidenhoudt, fondly referred to as Ma Agnes, celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday while for Heritage month she reflected on celebrating her centennial year during the Covid-19 pandemic and how South Africa, Cape Town and her community have evolved over the decades.
The matriarch of the Bezuidenhoudt family was born in Kimberley on September 20, 1921 and moved to Cape Town in 1971, where she worked for the Western Cape Blood Service until her retirement at 75, raising her family together with her husband until he passed away in 1996.
Ma Agnes said she was blessed to watch her family grow over the decades with five children, 15 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Family, friends and the community all gathered on Sunday for a drive-by birthday celebration in honour of Bezuidenhoudt.
Bezuidenhoudt’s youngest daughter Mercia, 65, who has been caring for her since the death of her husband, said: “I’ve watched her age but one thing that always amazes me is how her mind is still so sharp.”
Bezuidenhoudt has lived through various disease outbreaks that affected both human and animal lives over the past 10 decades but said none compared to the Covid-19 pandemic and its crippling effect on human health, families, businesses and economies.
“I think each and everybody should abide by the rules and regulations put in place to combat the spread of the virus and I pray people will listen to our health professionals and get vaccinated,” said Bezuidenhoudt.
Despite her age, Ma Agnes is very active and aware of the challenges of gangsterism, poverty, unemployment and hunger that still plague Cape Town and the country.
Ma Agnes said she had been voting since South Africa’s first year of democracy in 1994 and was looking forward to casting her vote on November 1 for the local government elections in her centennial year.
“I am glad that I get to cast my vote because we’ve all got a say in this country, everyone of us, and we should express it. There’s too much selfishness around, we must try not to think of ourselves but of each other. It’s not our country alone, it’s everybody’s,” said Bezuidenhoudt.
Arnold Bezuidenhoudt, her eldest son, said: “The foundation of her life has always been her steadfast faith in God and this had a tremendous impact on all of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.”