No regrets, says 107-year-old

2015-05-05 06:00
Molly Arendse is 107 years old and says she wishes she could sing and dance like she used to when she was younger.

Chevon Booysen

Molly Arendse is 107 years old and says she wishes she could sing and dance like she used to when she was younger. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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She only wants to see her daughter who was placed in foster care, again. And she wants her old voice and dance moves back. These are the only two wishes the 107-year-old Molly Arendse has.

Arendse, who grew up in the then Doornhoogte, now known as Athlone, says she has no regrets and has lived a full life.

“I was a very lively girl in my younger days. All that has changed now and I have to rely on my children and grandchildren to do things for me now,” she says.

She sits and recollects her years as a young woman and says the “olden days were the best”. “I was one of six children born to a European mother and a coloured father. They could never get married because they were together during the time of slavery and apartheid.”

Arendse says she was born just after the first Boere-oorlog (Anglo Boer War) came to an end in 1907.

“During those days there was no place you could register your child’s birth date and my mother could not do this. As an adult, I had to get an identity document and they told me to write down my date of birth. There was some problem when I told them I was born in 1907 so I just chose 1927 as my birth year. I didn’t want any hassles,” she says.

Arendse says she remembers when the first car came to South Africa and how scared she was of it. “It was those cars that you would have to wind up to get it started. I was very scared of it and always used to say that these big cars were going to call us. I even ran and jumped into a tree once when I saw a car approaching,” Arendse adds.

She has outlived all her siblings. She had 13 children herself, of whom only five are still alive. “It’s very heartbreaking when you stand at the grave of one of your children, knowing you will never see them again. It’s normally the other way around but I have been spared through the Lord’s grace,” she says.

Arendse says her first-born son died when he was only four months old. “I can’t remember what happened but he died at four months. One of my daughters was also taken into foster care at the age of seven. I used to hit her because I listened to gossip stories of my neighbours.

“They took her away from me and I haven’t seen her since. I would love to see her before I die so I can apologise to her for what I did. That is one wish I want to come true.”

Asked what she did for fun, Arendse giggles and says she loved dancing and singing.

“Other people would go to the City Hall to get dance lessons but I didn’t need it. And when I sang, I would sing to guys and not long after I would be asked on a date.”

Arendse is being taken care of by her granddaughter Harlane Solomons. “Whenever my grandmother got sick she would always call for me so I was taking care of her anyways. She has a home in Capricorn but we are renting it out because she is not fit to live on her own. So we decided to have her move in here,” Solomons explains

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