LIMPOPO – Farming, exercising and eating fresh fruit and vegetables has kept Alilali Nyamuofhe Nevondo of Lwamondo village, outside Thohoyandou healthy and strong for 112 years.
Born and raised in Vhembe, Nevondo spent years working on the farms, which her family says contributed to her staying healthy for years without contracting chronic illnesses such as sugar diabetes or high blood pressure. Even though she is now bedridden in her old age, Nevondo refuses to eat food which she thinks is unhealthy. She still prefers fresh vegetables and fruit.
“It’s amazing that my granny managed to live all these years without having to take any medication. Today she is still as healthy as a newborn. But I believe that working hard on the farms and eating healthy food kept her for this long. If the food she is given is not properly prepared she refuses to eat,” said Matodzi Nevondo, the old woman’s grandchild.
Nevondo is a mother of five, although two of her children have died. She passed on her healthy eating habits to the surviving three as well as her grandchildren. She has always believed that most people dying at an early age pass away because of the unhealthy and junk food they generally eat which leads to lifestyle diseases that kill.
It is a known fact that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit as part of an overall healthy diet reduces the risk for heart disease, including heart attack. Some vegetables and fruit may help to protect a person from certain types of cancer.
“We are blessed as a family to have someone like her in our lives. She is an encouragement to us, that if a person leads a healthy lifestyle you will be able to live for many years with a healthy body and mind. It took us many years for us to convince her to stop doing hard jobs at home. She used to yell at us saying that she is exercising. She used to say that her body gets painful if she does not work, as working for her is part of exercise,” said Nevondo.
A close friend of the granny, Beatrice Mathidi (70) of Lwamondo, says that Granny Nevondo is her source of inspiration.
“She is my role model. She taught me to work hard and be independent. I can tell you that I do not take any medication for any chronic illness as I spent most of my time working at my businesses as I believe that working is a huge part of exercise,” said Mathidi.
“Young women complain about a lack of jobs, but they have enough space and land at their homes to grow fruit and vegetables which they can sell and make money for themselves. A good part of farming involves exercise, which people do not take seriously. Before I owned my businesses I used to work at the farms. And if you look at me now you can see that I am still healthier than most young women,” she said.
The Nevondo family is planning to host a huge celebration to celebrate Granny Nevondo’s life as they believe that she is the oldest person in Vhembe.