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Bo-Kaap celebrates centenarian

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By Aneeqa du Plessis
Despite being orphaned at an early age, Hajja Fatima Fredericks-Kaffoor, who lives nestled in the heart of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town is a day away (June 23rd) from celebrating her 100th birthday. Hajja Kaffoor who was born in Durban in 1923 has spent the better part of her life taking care of others.
According to her daughter, Yasmin Kaffoor, the mother of five left school after Grade 3 to rear her siblings. She moved to the Mother City before the age of 13.
“Retrospection gives you 20/20 vision and I realize now in my 60s the wisdom behind the nagging. My mother has taught me all I know, and I am forever indebted to her. She is the reason I can do things for myself. She is a very strong woman and has instilled that mental resilience in me,” smiled Yasmin Kaffoor.
Hajja Kaffoor is presumed to have married in her early 20s. She met her late husband, Hashiem, in Russell Street District Six. The couple lived in Bo-Kaap and were married for 65 years before he passed at the age of 91.
While reminiscing of her time growing up, Yasmin, recalls a piece of advice her darling mother shared with her and her siblings.
“I remember when my brothers started working for themselves and even though they were married, mom would always say “voor jy brood op jou tafel sit, sorg dat jou mense betaal is, en voor hulle sweet opdroeg.” And those words ring true up until today. I constantly remind myself to pay people what is due to them, what good does it bring to line your pockets with other people’s earnings if Allah SWT is not be pleased with you,” questioned Yasmin Kaffoor.
Hajja Kaffoor is not on any medication for any illnesses and managed to stay Covid-19 free during the pandemic. But, she does enjoy a regular jam sandwich to keep her spirits high.
When asked what the secret is to living such a long life, Hajja Kaffoor said a modest, active lifestyle that surrounds her loved ones.
“Treasure your parents. Don’t get angry at them in their old age. I remind myself constantly that my mother did all of this for me with all the love in the world and with zero complaint. You won’t realize how blessed you are to have your parents around until they’re gone,” reminded Yasmin Kaffoor.
Hajja Kaffoor is one of few centenarians that Bo-Kaap has seen through the ages.
“May Allah SWT protect her mind and grant her many more years with us. May He give me sufficient health and patience to continue taking care of her,” added Yasmin Kaffoor.


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