• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

At age 100, her mind is sharp and heart is happy

By Onthantile Talafala


The longest-serving Hindu community member, Pemibhen Makan, celebrates a life and century birthday built on wisdom, and a heart of gold.

Pemibhem Makan, who, after getting married in 1938 to Dayalbhai Makan, moved to South Africa in 1946.

She was the founder of the women’s group, Mahila Mandal, and until today, is an active member of the group, currently residing in Braelyn.

She has, in her life, been a veritable role model, who served her community with passion, dignity and commitment.

The mother of three, namely Lakshmi, Magan, and Leala, as well as daughter-in-law Padma, and son-in-law Jugdish, is a grandmother to seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Her children look up to her as an extraordinary person, whose strength and faith resonates in everything she does for her family. She is one who is thought of in the warmest way, for always bringing happiness into the lives of others.

“She is just gifted with a mind over matter, and she is also very religious. She has got her set times as to when she needs to pray,” says Magan, her son.

This kind of connection to her religion has played a role in keeping her mentally strong, “sharp as a needle,” he added.

She has been a housewife, who enjoys gardening, and has been strictly a vegetarian most of her life. To add to it, she has a positive attitude towards life, and at her age is independent and does her chores daily. All of which have contributed to her celebrated longevity.

“She has her priorities intact, mentally, and physically, she basically knows what she wants, whether it’s her dietary side of things or whether it’s on the luxury side. She is her own doctor, she hardly goes to doctors, as she has got her remedies at home, whether it’s a common flu or aches and pains in the bodily form,” explains Magan. Her home remedies are practically made from herbs and spices too. As the appetite decreases as one gets older, Pemibhen has been having a full meal three times a day.

Her son says that she partakes in her food quite religiously, expressing the love their mother has for her food. To add to it their mother has never had any serious ailments within her lifetime.

The 100-year old is said to be a sociable person, and to celebrate her birthday under the lockdown settings, she will have a family get together and a handful of friends.

Also, Pemibhen is said to be very connected with people of her caliber and shares a strong Indian background.


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