Roberta celebrates 100 years

Roberta Eales was born in 1919. Picture: Mike Story

A Hout Bay woman, who was born in the year the pop-up toaster was invented, celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday.

Roberta Eales was born on February 1919 in the small farming town of Jacobsdal.

She has lived with her son in Hout Bay for the past three years.

To celebrate her special day, the centenarian had breakfast at the Hout Bay Manor on Saturday morning, surrounded by her family, including five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

“My party was absolutely magnificent. The place was lovely and the weather was perfect,” she says. “I’m so privileged to have so many people in life that I can be joyous with.”

Roberta, who outlived her seven siblings and husband of 66 years, is anything but frail and weak. A carer comes every day for a few hours to help her get ready for the day.

She strolls around the house with support from a walking stick, but, besides that, she can’t complain.

Her favourite decade, she says, was the 1970s, when she spent her days bowling in Uvongo.

Now, her days are spent reading books, colouring in her scrapbooks and catching up on Muvhango.

The first thing she does in the morning is watch the news.

“I know what’s going on in the world, and I watch the sports games, all of them.”

She seldomly gets bored.
“I used to watch 7de Laan, but it’s not the same since Oubaas left.” she jokes.

Unlike most centenarians, she is quite the social media fanatic. “I’m on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. I’m a very inquisitive person, so I like to peep in and see what’s going on,” she says.

But she complains when Facebook is playing up on her tablet.

Apart from a few times when
she was a teenager trying to look cool, Roberta says she never smoked.

Most people who live past 100 often reveal interesting “secrets to longevity” – everything from drinking wine every day, avoiding red meat, avoiding men, Roberta has heard it all. But she doesn’t attribute her age to anything out of the ordinary.

“There isn’t anything that I don’t eat. I grew up during the Great Depression era, so I was brought up to appreciate everything and not take anything for granted,” she says. “I will drink a glass of wine every now and then, but I don’t overdo it.”

Roberta says it is a misconception that the elderly are scatterbrained because she has quite a good memory. Her son, Rodney, says she never forgets the birthdays of everyone she knows.

“She’s always the first to wish them on the morning of their birthday,” he says.

Asked what advice she has for the youth, she says it’s best to be honest. “Not only with what you say, but be honest with who you are. Live as your true self.”