Harry Magewu of Thembalesizwe, Aberdeen, will have a very special Christmas this year, as he will celebrate his 100th birthday on December 25th!
Harry was born in Pearston, but moved to Aberdeen in 1960 for economic reasons. He was a shearer by trade, and by all accounts was one of the best. Cllr Willem Säfers of Aberdeen first met him when he was as a young boy growing up on Skietfontein farm. “Harry could shear over 100 sheep in one day with hand clippers – he was the only one who could do that,” said Säfers adding that at that time, the rate of pay was 5c per sheep.
He continued working well past what most people would consider retirement age, only finally hanging up his clippers at the age of 92. Keeping busy helped him keep healthy, and he always looked after his body. He never smoked or drank alcohol, and is a greatly-respected member of his community. Harry is still an active member of the Bantu Church of Christ, where for many years he held a leadership position.
His wife Jane passed away in 2003, and of the couple’s eight children, only their daughter Buyiswa Ngcongco survives. There are many grandchildren and great grandchildren, but none of the family seemed sure of exactly how many!
Last Friday, a party was organised for Harry by the local ANC branch, attended by about 40 friends and family members. Although his body is now frail and he can only walk short distances on crutches, Harry’s mind remains sharp, and he took great delight in reliving the excitement of the party with one of his young relatives afterwards.
A large official party is due to take place later this week, organised by the District Municipality.