SHE has come of age, having lived four generations
Although Gogo Esinath Dondo’s age cannot be compared to that of Methuselah who had the longest lifespan of all those given in the Bible, having died at the age of 969, the current generation envies Gogo Dondo.
According to the Book of Genesis, Methuselah was the son of Enoch, the father of Lamech, and the grandfather of Noah.
Throughout her existence, the 103-year-old Gogo Dondo who is now in her twilight, has seen life changing.
From a generation when education was a first priority to males with females considered only good for marriage, to a generation when Zimbabwe has become one of the nations in Africa with a high literacy rate.
The centurion has also witnessed the decay of Zimbabwean culture and social fabric with little power to stop or correct it.
From the time when wearing a pair of trousers by females was perceived to be a taboo to a generation when girls are freely open to walk half naked.
But, has Gogo Dondo seen it all?
She still thinks she hasn’t.
With technology now changing lives and help to spin the world, the centurion believes there is much to see after all.
While majority of her age, born around 1920’s soon after the infamous World War 1 have ran their race, she however has only God, best healthy living conditions and moral behaviour to thank as she still in the game, the game of life.
The elderly woman who sired five children with her late husband, remained strong and hard-working even after the demise of her husband whom she married and wedded in the 1940s.
Her husband died in 1991 in Zvishavane after retiring from working as a station master at Chatsworth for the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
She believes, a mother will never tire to work and fend for her children.
Despite turning 103 recently, Gogo Dondo is still as strong but not as hyperactive as a toddler, her communication is clear and falls chronologically.
She celebrated an impressive milestone on June 10 surrounded by family and friends at her daughter’s farm near Chinhoyi as she reached the ripe old age of 103.
A grandmother of 13 and a great-grandmother to be, Gogo Dondo also celebrated the occasion with her children.
Born in Chivhu, Mashonaland East Province on June 5, 1920, Gogo Esinath grew up in the area where she later married her now late husband, Sekuru Enerst Dondo whom she stayed with for over 50 years before his demise. It was in the dusty and sandy area of Chivhu where best moral values were instilled by her late parents.
This is also where the second born in a family of four enjoyed and learnt that traditional cuisines have the power to give a healthy life with her other three siblings who are late now.
As she celebrated the day, Gogo Dondo who thanked God for blessing her with a century plus years, shared with this publication the secret to a prolonged life.
“We survived on traditional meals that included sadza and relish. It’s unfortunate that our children nowadays are much concerned with junky foods that pose risks to their health.
‘‘I am sure that I reached this age because of the grace of God and the food that I have been having,” she said.
According to researches, fast and processed foods pose health risks to humans, accounting to high cases of cancers.
Gogo Dondo rallied people to embrace traditional meals as pushed by the First Lady Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa that are not only healthy but cheap.
The First Lady has been championing promotion of local and traditional meals with the annual cook-out competition spilling regionally.
“You can have your pumpkin leaves, blackjack and, even mushrooms as relish. These are way far better as compared to the broiler chickens and other meats that are on the market,” she added.
As testimony to her advice, Gogo Dondo is not a high blood pressure and diabetic patient. In addition, she still has good eye sight and hearing senses.
They say, with age comes wisdom and, true to the words, Gogo Dondo gave advice for a prolonged lifespan.
“Apart from good food, it is also good character and behaviour that helps one exist longer. If your ways are shrewd, how do you expect to live longer?” She posed a question.
“Most of the youths we have today are involved in prostitution and robbery to access money easily and quickly but these have consequences as one is bound to contract diseases and getting arrested.”
Gogo Dondo bragged saying she had managed to instil best and sound moral beliefs in her children whom she believes were doing the same to their offsprings.
One of her daughters and last born, Ms Alice Dondo, said her mother was a jewel and fountain of knowledge.
She said her mother was a hard-working woman who was involved in selling of knitted material to the neighbouring South Africa.
“She took care of us using the money she raised through hard-working which included cross-border trading.
‘‘Our mother worked so hard and take us all through school,” she said.
“She is a woman of essence and a true gift to the world and an incredible 103-year-old,” said Alice.
‘‘Throughout our lives, we have never heard a mean word from her and she never complained.
‘‘She used to encourage us to always say nice things and if one doesn’t have anything good to say, never to open mouth.”
Gogo Dondo sired her first child Trynos in 1950, Winnifrida in 1955, Joyce in 1957, Joshua in 1963 and Alice in 1970