Mkhize has strength of Samson at age 114

Samson Mkhize shows some of the exercises he used to perform at the local gym in Mamelodi West./Dimakatso Modipa
Samson Mkhize shows some of the exercises he used to perform at the local gym in Mamelodi West./Dimakatso Modipa

A man believed to be one of the oldest people in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, credits drinking lots of water and keeping fit as his secret to long life.

Samson Mkhize, who turned 114 last week, told Sowetan that he had over the years also avoided spicy food.

Although Mkhize stopped attending a local gym held three times a week in a church in July, it had been part of his life for decades.

"I loved going to the gym so much and I had been doing it ever since I arrived in Mamelodi. I have been exercising a lot and some of the people that I used to attend gym with have died," he said.

"I grew up exercising and my body got used to it and I'm happy to reach this age."

He said upon realising his body was struggling to keep up with the gym demands due to old age, he stopped going.

He said he still cleans, cooks, and does his own laundry. His regular activities include sweeping his yard every morning.

"I'm not on any medication because I don't have any disease in my body, it's just old age only," he said.

His hearing is sharp for someone his age. He watches television to kill time and lists gospel shows as his favourite.

Mkhize lived alone until his 60-year old granddaughter Nancy, joined him recently to assist around the house.

Nancy said she wishes to grow as old as her grandfather.

"I remember growing up my grandfather used to tell me stories of the past and I enjoyed them so much and I now wish to grow and reach his age."

Mkhize is originally from KwaZulu-Natal and moved to Mamelodi in 1940 after he found a home.

He was already married to his late wife Martha Mkhize who died in 1985 and had three daughters who have all also passed away.

Mkhize had nine grandchildren, two who have died , five great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

Mkhize dressed up to the nines for his big day last week, which was attended by close family and friends.

Gauteng MPL Gogo Ndlovana donated a birthday cake and also bought groceries worth R2,500 for Mkhize.

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