At 103, Gogo Esinath Dondo has lived through 4 generations – from an era when girls had little education to today’s higher literacy and more relaxed social norms.
Though far shorter than Biblical Methuselah’s 969 years, Gogo Dondo has seen huge changes in her century of life.
Gogo Dondo witnessed Zimbabwe’s transition from colonial rule to independence, and the decay of Zimbabwean culture over the decades. The time when wearing trousers by females was taboo to a generation when girls freely walk half nɑkǝd.
But Gogo Dondo thinks she has more to see, with technology transforming the world at a rapid pace.
While most people from her 1920s generation have passed on, Gogo Dondo credits God, a healthy lifestyle and good behaviour for her longevity.
She had five children with husband Sekuru Ernest Dondo, who died in 1991 after retiring as a railway station master.
Despite turning 103, Gogo Dondo says she is still strong though not hyperactive like a toddler. Her communication is clear and chronological.
Gogo Dondo, a grandmother of 13 and soon-to-be great-grandmother, celebrated her 103rd birthday recently with family and friends.
Born in 1920, she grew up in Chivhu and married her late husband there, staying together over 50 years before he passed.
As a testimony to her longevity, Gogo Dondo has no high blood pressure or diabetes. She has good eyesight and hearing.
She attributes her long life to: “good food, God’s grace and good character.” She advised eating traditional meals promoted by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa instead of “junky foods.”
Her daughter Alice said her mother was a “hard-working, invaluable woman who took good care of us through cross-border trading.”
Gogo Dondo had five children between 1950 and 1970 and instilled strong values in them she hopes they will pass on.