Sprightly World War veteran celebrates his 100th birthday

FRIENDS and family gathered to celebrate World War Two veteran Joseph Khuduga Tshenye's 100th birthday on Saturday in Maboloka, outside Brits.

FRIENDS and family gathered to celebrate World War Two veteran Joseph Khuduga Tshenye's 100th birthday on Saturday in Maboloka, outside Brits.

In 1939, at the age of 29, Tshenye was part of the troops that General Jan Smuts sent to fight on the side of the British in North Africa and Europe during World War Two between 1939 and 1945.

Tshenye said he joined the army because most of his friends did.

"I did not tell my parents, I just went to Pretoria and signed up. I enjoyed being in the army," Tshenye said.

Tshenye has been married to Mmakeke Tshenye, 78, for the past 60 years.

The two were blessed with 10 children, 22 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

His eldest son, Shabele, said his father used to tell them interesting stories about his days in the army.

Tshenye said some memories of his days as a soldier have since faded.

"We had a great time back then. We were given half of our salaries and the rest was sent back home. We also received free tobacco," he said.

What was the secret to his long life?

Tshenye said he eats well most of the time.

"Mielie meal and vegetables were our staple food.

"I was fit in my younger days. I rarely ate meat," he said.

Tshenye was born on January 15 1910 in Sterkfontein, also in North West.

He settled with his wife in Maboloka in 1962.

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