‘Eat healthy, be peaceful to live longer’

GOGO Langalibi Khumalo, affectionately known as Gogo MaNdlovu, attributes her incredible 110 years to a diet rich in traditional and healthy foods that have kept her body strong. However, her longevity is not solely due to her diet; she is a peaceful person who avoids holding grudges and harbouring hatred towards others.

She was one of the 63 elderly individuals who attended the SPA community annual centenarian celebration in Bulawayo last Friday. The event was graced by various officials, with Colonel Miniyothabo Baloyi-Chiwenga as the guest of honour.

Born  on January 13, 1913, Gogo MaNdlovu’s centenarian celebration coincided with a beautiful day, with the sun shining brightly, providing almost perfect weather. This delightful weather allowed the elderly attendees to dance and move freely during the celebration at the city hall.

After an energetic dance performance, the centenarians had a special photo-shoot, each receiving a birthday sachet signifying their centenarian status. To make their day even more special, they were escorted to the main venue at the ZITF in fancy cars, accompanied by a fire brigade motorcade.


During the journey, they happily waved at the crowds of people standing on the roadside to greet them. Upon arrival at the venue, old-school songs were sung, prompting some of the centenarians to stand up and dance, showcasing their moves to the younger generation.

The centenarians were treated to lunch and had the opportunity to interact with the guest of honour. They danced with Col Baloyi-Chiwenga, who presented them with awards.

“Growing up l used to love eating isitshwala senyawuthi, imbhida yendumba ledobi. I am thankful to God because He has kept me for this long. I can only attribute this age to Him because He is the only one who has kept me for this long,” she said.

Sithembiso Ncube-Ndebele, Gogo MaNdlovu’s granddaughter, shared insights into her grandmother’s life. Gogo MaNdlovu, who had nine children, instilled the importance of unity and peace within her family. 

“Gogo is a very peaceful person she does not hold grudges and does not like fighting with people. She always preaches about the importance of being a united family. She was married into polygamy and one thing she will always preach is how peaceful the polygamy was because they had no time for fights and holding grudges against each other. Even our mothers grew up knowing that they are from the same house and there was no discrimination because it was a polygamous marriage,” says Sithembiso.

She remains a fan of traditional food, especially amahewu, and enjoys her life at her rural home in Insuza.

“Having a matriarch who is this old is a blessing especially because she is not being troubled by any illnesses. She does not even take hypertension medication as she has always been a healthy woman. The only thing that is troubling her at the moment is her legs and that is merely because of old age. So we are very lucky to be having her up to this age. We are looking forward to spending more years with her because just like I said she is still very strong,” she says.

Col Baloyi-Chiwenga expressed her honour at being among such resilient and wise khulus and gogos. She encouraged young people to respect their bodies and follow the positive lifestyle examples set by these elderly individuals. 

“I would like to applaud the Government for the great work it is doing in ensuring that the country is peaceful because without such peace we would not be having these khulus and gogos celebrating such a milestone today,” said Col Baloyi-Chiwenga.


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