Pretoria – Johanna Rametsi lived all 134 years of her life to the fullest – and finally, as the lyrics of her favourite song go, “Ke na le modisa (I am with God)”.Rametsi, from Stinkwater, Hammanskraal, was recorded as the oldest living person in the world at the age of 134 years.
She died on May 31, a few months after she was officially handed her newly renovated home.
Jeanette Ntimbane, Rametsi’s caretaker from the age 130, said the song that Gogo loved to sing every day while sitting under a tree in her yard served as comfort to her after her death.
“She was my grandmother, my child, my teacher and everything to me. So although I am hurt that she is no longer with us today I want to celebrate her long life as she would have wanted.”
Ntimbane said not only would she cherish the special moments they had, but also how much Rametsi would plead with her not to cook cabbage but prepare her meat and chips and give her a glass of coke.
“Even when she lost her eyesight she would identify me by touching my hand and asking when I would ever put on more weight as I was too skinny.”
“Gogo would share stories of when she took part in the Struggle for freedom in this country; how she and many others had to travel with guns and crawl into ditches on their stomach’s just to escape from being caught.”
Neighbour Mariah Matloala said Rametsi kept jiving and dancing from her bed until the very end.
“She did what she could with the time she was given on this earth and had no regrets. She worked and fulfilled her purpose and it is now left to us to continue to make our communities better,” she said.
Captain Sarah Lesabane from Temba police station said she was relieved that despite the scourge of murder and domestic abuse prevailing in the community, Gogo Rametsi was spared.
“I am grateful that despite the problems in our community we gave the jewel God lent us the respect she deserved.”
“Let us use her passing as a tool to unite us as a community to deal with all that is going wrong because we have the strength to do it. Let us join hands with our neighbours so that we too can reach the age of Gogo Rametsi,” said Lesabane.
Rametsi born on January 1, 1883, in Krugersdorp, and is survived by 16 children, 78 grandchildren and 247 great-grandchildren.
Her funeral service will be held at her home in Hammanskraal on Sunday.