Neither the time nor the technology could change Elizabeth Africa, from Kensington, who has seen 10 decades in her lifetime.
Africa revealed this just after celebrating her 100th birthday at her home in Twelfth Avenue on Wednesday 7 August. Her celebration lasted for days as her family planned a surprise party for her, and on Sunday her congregation celebrated her through The Samaritan Network International (TSNI) non-profit organisation that treated her with a special aromatherapy pampering session.
She says the changes over the years were hard for her, but she remained grounded and strong in doing things the old fashioned way. “So much has changed, the way we used to do things was totally different from how it is being done now. Technology has really taken over. The transition was good in a way, but for me, it was difficult to get used to,” she says.
Africa was born in Salt River and raised in Sixth Avenue in Kensington along with 10 younger siblings.
She has always been a woman of God, something that made her a well-respected resident in the community.
Before becoming a mother to her 12 children, she looked after her siblings while her mother went to work to support them.
“I have raised my children well, by teaching them the right ways and being very firm with them. Still today, my children and grandchildren sometimes get cross with me for being so firm with them, but I don’t care. I do it for their own sake, for my own salvation and theirs,” she says.
Despite her age, she still finds joy in the kitchen, doing the dishes and spending time with her five cats. Her daughter, Shirley Gray, whom she lives with, says it is a privilege for them to still have their mother in their lives.
She says her mother is a proof of what God promised, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
Rachel Claudia Brink, director at TSNI, says Africa enjoyed the celebrations. “While giving her the treat, I had the privilege of listening to her stories. She is such an amazing woman of strength, with a sound mind and health,” says Brink.