Centenarian insists on walking herself around Robben Island

2015-09-23 22:13
105-year-old Nora de Kock, who was part of a tour to Robben Island. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

105-year-old Nora de Kock, who was part of a tour to Robben Island. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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WATCH: Here's how Google mapped Robben Island

2015-04-23 10:33

Robben Island is now on Google Maps. We toured Robben Island with Google and found out just how they mapped the prison and its surroundings. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town - Although she is 105-years-old, Kuils River resident Nora de Kock insisted on walking unaided with a group of veterans as they toured Robben Island on Wednesday.

“It was very good. I enjoyed it,” she said in Afrikaans afterwards with the energy and mental clarity of someone far younger, despite a raspy voice because of a sore throat.

While dressed in her Sunday best, she made sure to wear sensible black pumps.

Swartland councillor Felicia Humphreys assisted her on the tour and took over speaking from De Kock, telling News24 she had learnt so much from the veteran.

Humphreys said De Kock started working when she was just eight 8-years-old, assisting her mother in the kitchen of their boss’s Paarl farm.

“She is illiterate and never went to school,” Humphreys shared as the elderly lady looked down at her hands neatly folded on her lap.

The trip for 24 veterans, ahead of Heritage Day, came via a Facebook campaign by Lynn Abrahams to thank the elderly.

She had asked Cape Town residents three weeks ago to sponsor a veterans' tour and lunch.

Wilhelmina Williams, mother of slain MK operative Coline Williams, was part of the tour led by former political prisoner Ahmed Kathrada.

The 76-year-old enjoyed her third time on the island, but struggled to speak as she reflected on her daughter’s struggle days.

“I am still looking for answers about her death. It looks like I will take it to the grave.”

Her long-time friend Thelma Sacco, 72, patted her back and said their children had been “dik tjommies” (close friends).

She said everyone knew about the island, but actually seeing it was an “eye-opener”.

Sacco was a dark room technician in the 1960s and was part of a team who took x-rays of prisoners including former president Nelson Mandela.

“I didn’t feel special about the whole thing, because it is your job. And now today we are celebrating what we have. It is senseless to walk around with a grudge.”

African National Congress provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs handed Kathrada an oil painting as a gesture of thanks from the group.

The painting, by Sean Nefdt, was of Kathrada and Mandela.

Read more on:    ahmed kathrada  |  cape town

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