Gwanda family celebrates long life as centenarian lives to see great, great grand child

By Providence Maraneli

A family in Zhokwe area in Gwanda claims that traditional herbs and good food choices are behind their 112-year-old great grandmother’s long life.

On an ordinary weekend, the chilly weather has everyone indoors including the Moyo family, whose members are encircling a small fire in a thatched kitchen.

This is a family of five generations and the great grandmother, Gogo Mthowane Moyo has been alive since 1910.

The ZBC News cameras attracted some few extended family members who shared how they are blessed to have her alive.

Though frail, she claims natural food and herbs are behind her longevity.

“When we grew up there was no maize or these fast foods. We used to eat small grains and herbs,” says Ms Mthowane Moyo, the 112-year-old centenarian.

While the Holy Bible says ‘as for our years, in them are seventy years and if in strength eighty years…’, it is in the nature of things for people to become more accepting of the imperfect state of the world and to accept two facts that ageing and death are part of life, but for the Moyo family traditional herbs have prolonged their queen mother’s life.

Gogo Moyo’s daughter, Maria Dube said, “I am 85 years old and my elder brother is 90. What I remember is my mother from a tender age used to give us a lot of traditional herbs to strengthen us. I tell you, I think it is those herbs that has made her live this long.”

Mr Melusi Moyo, a 56-year-old grandson of Gogo Moyo noted, “The stories that she used to tell us are from a long time ago, the early days of colonialism and how the whole thing panned out. She used to tell us how they could hide in the Insimbi Caves. I am now a grandfather while my grandmother is still alive. We are so blessed.”

“My daughter is 11 years old and she is of the fifth generation if we are counting from gogo. She used to prepare ntolwane and njawutshawu for us to be strong and I am convinced that these herbs are what has kept her going. She has lived to see her great granddaughter’s daughter,” Takazelwa Moyo, Gogo Moyo’s 29-year-old great grand-daughter said.

Whether the herbs work or not we will never know but one thing that noone can dispute is the happiness that the Moyo family shares with a centurion among them in a world where life expectancy is falling each passing day.