Miriam celebrates milestone

Miriam Ebrahim with her daughter Fatiema Richards.

Brooklyn’s 111-year-old Miriam Ebrahim was born before Henry Ford’s first Model T rolled off the production line.

The super-centenerian, who has lived to see the birth of her great great-grandchildren, was born Miriam Jogee under colonial rule in Fort Victoria, Rhodesia on July 27 1908.

Today the town is called Masvingo.

Born into a family of farmers she never set foot in a classroom and spent her life working on wheat, tobacco and maize plantations.

She had only one child, Fatiema Richards, who remembers her mother to be very hard working.

“We hardly used to buy maize. She even grew her own rice,” said Ms Richards.

A few years after immigrating to South Africa, Ms Richards brought her mother to live with her in Brooklyn. “She didn’t want to come but eventually did because I was here and I wanted to take care of her,” said Ms Richards.

She says the family photo albums are back home in Zimbabwe.

Ms Ebrahim is Shona-speaking and knows only a few English words.

She spends most of her time in bed these days while her daughter is her full-time caregiver.

Ms Ebrahim’s tiny frame lies curled up under a heap of blankets keeping the winter chill at bay.

She loves watching Isidingo, according to her daughter.

“Once in a while she’ll get up to take a walk around the house and peep out the window.

She still goes to the bathroom herself and has good eyesight.

“It is only her reflex that is bad and her hearing is going too,” said Ms Richards.

As for her appetite, Ms Richards said her mother was eating more than ever.

“I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to check up on her and she’ll be awake waiting for me telling me how hungry she is.”

Ms Ebrahim had a low-key birthday celebration surrounded by family.

“My mother has lived so long we’ve used burial money, intended for her, to bury family much younger than she is,” said Ms Richards, laughing.