Gogo Nomust Magwala celebrated her 100th birthday on Tuesday, 4 May. Her children described the gogo from Salem in Makhanda, Eastern Cape, as a good mother who raised her kids with dignity.
They said she believed in family and encouraged omakoti in the area not to get upset over their cheating husbands.
She taught them that every man cheats, and a wife should look after her husband and not question him about where he was when he comes home in the morning.
Her sister-in-law Thembeka Noqayi (80) said gogo is the only one of her five brothers’ wives who’s still alive.
“She taught us not to question our husbands when they didn’t sleep at home.
Instead, she encouraged us to look after them very well,” she said.
“Her methods worked well back in those days because it was the way she was raised, and rural women behaved like that.”
Her daughter Nomthunzi Wopa (63) said the gogo is a strong woman.
“She spent most of her life working as a domestic worker on farms and raised many farmers’ kids,” she said.
The gogo had nine kids, seven of whom are still alive, 17 grandchildren, and five grandchildren.
“My mother is not on any medication. In 2015, when I took her to hospital, doctors told me I shouldn’t bring her again because she was very healthy,” she said.
However, not everyone agreed with gogo’s advice. Women the SunTeam spoke to were divided in their opinion.
Sonwabise Rooibaard (28), a makoti from Veeplaas kasi, said the advice is outdated and risky because of s.e.xually transmitted infections and HIV.
“Our gogos were forced to stay in those marriages, fearing stigma and disappointing their families.
“If my husband is not sleeping at home, I’d do the same thing to him. He married me to be his wife, not a security guard for his house.”
Bishop Mfihlo of Apostolic Amen Church in Zion in Gugulethu, Cape Town, said as someone who educated people in the rural areas about GBV, he encouraged families not to listen to this outdated advice.
“Women obeyed these laws in the past because they were oppressed and voiceless. They were taught to be submissive to their husbands,” he said.
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