100 YEARS: Ethel Nembula and Dora Uys. Pic. Peter Mogaki. © Sowetan.
100 YEARS: Ethel Nembula and Dora Uys. Pic. Peter Mogaki. © Sowetan.

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

Living to the ripe old age of 100 is a major feat, but to share your birthday with your twin is even more special.

Centenarians Dora Uys and Ethel Nembula, believed to be the oldest identical twins in the world, celebrated their birthdays with their descendants in Johannesburg yesterday.

"I can't explain how we got this far together, especially Ethel, because she's not even Catholic. This is a wonderful day for us," said Uys at her home in Riverlea.

Nembula's oldest daughter, Makhosazana, 77, said the sisters' enduring faith in God was the reason for their longevity.

"This cannot be ascribed to any special diets or remedies but only their belief in prayer," she said.

Uys, a devout Catholic, said she was happy to have celebrated the milestone with her sister.

The City of Johannesburg presented the sisters with clocks and roses to mark their long life.

"They are a significant part of our times.

"They remind us how important it is to respect the life we have," regional director of the City of Joburg, Vusi Mavuso, said.

Nembula said that she could not comprehend the attention they had attracted from the media.

"They are keeping us busy today," she said with her face speckled with pink icing from their birthday cake.

The sisters were born in Indwedwe, KwaZulu-Natal, in 1908 and have lived through the two world wars, apartheid and South Africa's three democratic elections.

Uys has four children, 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grand children and a great great-grandchild, while Nembula has two daughters, seven grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and 13 great great-grandchildren.