Gogo Rametsi ‘a jewel God lent us’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - GOITSEMANG TLHABYE

JO­HANNA Rametsi lived all 134 years of her life to the fullest and, fi­nally, as the lyrics of her favourite song go, “Ke na le mod­isa (I am with God)”.

Rametsi, from Stinkwa­ter, Ham­man­skraal, was recorded as the old­est liv­ing per­son in the world at the age of 134 years. She died on May 31, a few months af­ter she was of­fi­cially handed her newly ren­o­vated home.

Jeanette Ntim­bane, Rametsi’s care­taker from the age of 130, said the song that Gogo loved to sing ev­ery day while sit­ting un­der a tree in her yard served as com­fort to her af­ter her death.

“She was my grand­mother, my child, my teacher and ev­ery­thing to me. So, although I am hurt that she is no longer with us to­day, I want to cel­e­brate her long life as she would have wanted.”

The old woman was hon­oured with a me­mo­rial ser­vice in her com­mu­nity yes­ter­day, where speaker af­ter speaker mar­velled at the life she had de­spite her old age.

Ntim­bane said not only would she cher­ish the spe­cial mo­ments they had, but also how much Rametsi would plead with her not to cook cab­bage, but pre­pare her meat and chips and give her a glass of coke.

“Even when she lost her eye­sight, she would iden­tify me by touch­ing my hand and ask­ing when I would ever put on more weight as I was too skinny. Gogo would share sto­ries of when she took part in the Strug­gle for free­dom in this coun­try; how she and many oth­ers had to travel with guns and crawl into ditches on their stom­achs just to es­cape from be­ing caught.”

Neigh­bour Mariah Mat­loala said Rametsi kept jiv­ing and danc­ing from her bed un­til the very end.

“She did what she could with the time she was given on this Earth and had no re­grets. She worked and ful­filled her pur­pose and it is now left to us to con­tinue to make our com­mu­ni­ties bet­ter,” she said.

Cap­tain Sarah Lesa­bane from Temba po­lice sta­tion said she was re­lieved that de­spite the scourge of mur­der and do­mes­tic abuse pre­vail­ing in the com­mu­nity, Gogo Rametsi was spared.

“I am grate­ful that de­spite the prob­lems in our com­mu­nity, we gave the jewel God lent us the re­spect she de­served,” said Lesa­bane.

“Let us use her pass­ing as a tool to unite us as a com­mu­nity to deal with all that is go­ing wrong, be­cause we have the strength to do it. Let us join hands with our neigh­bours so that we too can reach the age of Gogo Rametsi.”

Rametsi was born in Krugers­dorp on Jan­uary 1, 1883 and is sur­vived by 16 chil­dren, 78 grand­chil­dren and 247 great-grand­chil­dren. Her fu­neral ser­vice will be held at her home in Ham­man­skraal on Sun­day.

PIC­TURE: OUPA MOKOENA

CEL­E­BRAT­ING A LIFE: Com­mu­nity mem­bers cel­e­brate at the me­mo­rial ser­vice in Ham­man­skraal for Jo­hanna Rametsi, who was the world’s old­est per­son at 134 years.

PIC­TURE: IOL

STRONG: Jo­hanna Rametsi at the age of 130.

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