Madiba meets 134-year-old ‘Koko’ Moloko Temo
Sept 5, 2008 – A group of 18 older people from around South Africa, including a 134-year-old woman from Limpopo province, met Nelson Mandela at his offices today.
‘Koko’ Moloko Temo, from Mohadi ga Manthata village, who was accompanied by her 89-year-old daughter Eveline, joined the group from the South African Older Person’s Forum.
When Mr Mandela entered the room at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, the group cheered, ululated and sang for him.
Temo, who was born on July 4, 1874, found it more comfortable to sit on the floor rather than in her wheelchair during the function. She sang a special birthday song she had composed for a delighted Mr Mandela, who turned 90 on July 18.
The meeting was the brainchild of Masindi Wilson Mufamadi from Vhembe District in Limpopo. He lived in Alexandra from the 1950s and said he first met Mr Mandela when the latter was a lawyer at Chancellor House in Johannesburg.
“I am so happy, I will sleep nicely,” said Mufamadi. “It is my day today. It’s all right, I can die today, I don’t care.”
The group presented Mr Mandela with gifts including a portrait of himself painted on the skin of a goat from Ethiopia, “because he trained to be a guerrilla in Ethiopia”, said Tom Boya, an executive member of the South African Older Person’s Forum. He was referring to the period in 1962 when Mr Mandela visited various African countries to raise support for the African National Congress and its new military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe.
After his tour, which included a trip to London, Mr Mandela was arrested on August 5, 1962 and was charged with inciting a strike and leaving the country illegally. He was sentenced to five years in jail. He was brought back from prison to stand trial for sabotage in the infamous Rivonia Trial. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with seven others on June 12, 1964 and was released on February 11, 1990.