If wisdom comes with age, he could be the wisest person in the world, Fredie Blom jokes.
Believed to be the oldest man alive, the oupa from Delft on the Cape Flats celebrated his 115th birthday on election day on Wednesday.
"But I look 44," Blom quips.
Born in Adelaide in the Eastern Cape on May 8, 1904, a young Blom moved to Cape Town in search of work.
But finding employment turned out to be difficult.
For months, Blom lived on the streets, sleeping rough with other job seekers who had hoped to find a better life in the city.
"Eventually I found work on a vegetable farm in Philippi. I picked everything from carrots to potatoes and spinach. I earned two shillings a day. I had nothing before, so to me I was rich," he recalls.
'I worked until I was in my 80s'
Blom met his wife Jeanette, now 86, at a dance many decades ago, where his impressive jive caught her eye.
"Oh, but that man could move," she says, winking at Blom.
Rubbing his knees, Blom replies: "Yes, I was like a professional hey. But now these legs don’t want to work anymore."
He was later employed by a neighbouring chicken farm where he earned a better wage.
"There, I worked until they told me I could work no more. I gave my best years and was very happy there – I fed the chickens and counted the eggs.
"I worked until I was in my 80s and the farmer said it was time for me to retire. I was sad when I left because it meant there was no salary left for me to earn. No provision was made for my retirement. I thought that family would take care of me – I had worked for three generations, from the oupa to the grandson."
Blom had refused to collect his government pension, Jeanette says.
Fredie Blom with his wife of 43 years, Jeanette. (Tammy Petersen, News24)
"He wanted to work and earn his money, but I pestered him until he gave in. He still doesn’t want to accept that he is old, let alone the oldest man in the world."
Blom has no children, but calls Jeanette's two from a previous marriage his own.
"I live for their little ones, my grandchildren. They keep me young," he says, flashing a proud smile.
As far as Blom is concerned, he is "fighting fit and healthy". He doesn’t wear spectacles and walks without support.
But Jeanette tells a different story.
"Ask him when last he was at the doctor. He refuses to go."
Blom argues that he hates having his finger pricked when having his blood sugar level tested.
"And that lappie! I don’t want to see it. They wrap it around my arm and squeeze it so tight. The nurses always scold me because my blood pressure is too high. They always complain so I don't feel like hearing it anymore."
WATCH: 'World’s oldest man' Fredie Blom celebrates his 114th birthday
Blom says he has no secrets for longevity.
"It's the boss upstairs who decided that my time isn’t up yet. I smoke my tobacco. I don’t go to the doctor. All I drink is an Eno and a Disprin tablet every day. And I am fine."
Jeanette describes her husband as a "stubborn old man" who refuses to slow down.
"Recently we had the front stoep paved. Fredie didn’t like the job the fellow was doing so he decided to finish it himself. What a mess! Eventually we had to get someone else to redo everything, all because he doesn't want to listen."
Blom dismisses her complaint with a flick of his wrist, suppressing a smile.
The centenarian spends most of his day in front of the TV, sipping cups of coffee in his lounge.
Fredie Blom toasts himself with his coffee cup. (Tammy Petersen, News24)
Jeanette says if there was any gift she could give her husband of 43 years, it would be a flat screen TV set.
"He never complains about our small, old-fashioned one. Sometimes the picture is so bad we have to move the little aerial around so that he can watch his soapies and the cartoons. But one day I will have enough to buy him a proper, fancy TV."
Blom nods. "I think I have everything I need, but a TV that doesn't snow up would nogal be nice."
Blom's birthday will be celebrated with a party at the local civic centre on Thursday.
He has not yet been recognised by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest man, despite them being informed that a potential record holder may be living in Delft in Cape Town.
Masazo Nonaka, who held the title of oldest living man, died in January at his home in Japan. He was 113 years and 179 days old.
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