A hearty celebration was had by all at Olive Sutton’s 100th birthday gathering that was recently held at Rand Aid’s Tarentaal retirement village in Edenvale.
A special surprise, a personalised birthday letter from President Jacob Zuma, was presented to Olive along with a glass of champagne and a wonderful 100 numbered cake to celebrate this remarkable milestone.
“You are special and surely honour is due to you for all the great experiences that life has given you. You have achieved more in a lifetime than others can only dream of,” says President Zuma.
“You have seen the world change, witnessed a number of discoveries and innovations that most people only read about in history books, such as the first man to walk on the moon and the first aeroplane to take flight, to name a few,” he adds.
Born in the Transkei in 1911, Olive celebrated her centenary on 16 October. She lived in the Transkei until she was 10-years-old, before moving to Gauteng where she soon had to leave school to take care of her six younger brothers and sisters when her mother passed away. The youngest of her siblings was only two-years-old at the time.
“Olive has always been a mother to all of us,” says her niece, Vanessa Beukes. “Even now, every family member – and there’s about 400 of us – still receives a hand-made birthday card from her every year. No matter where they live, across the world. She’s the matriarch of the family and always keeps us all together.”
As a part of her career Olive enjoyed 31 years working for the OK. She retired at 65 and moved into the Tarentaal retirement village just under 20 years ago. “Olive is the first resident that we have had turn 100 at Tarentaal,” says Complex Manager, Tammy Neilsen. “She’s absolutely wonderful to have around, we never hear a grumble or a moan from her, and everyone loves her.”
Olive’s youngest brother, Cecil Hack, who currently lives in Cape Town, will soon celebrate his 90th birthday, whilst another brother, Stanley Hack, joined in the fun at Olive’s celebration and is soon to celebrate his 93rd birthday.
Still a feisty woman, Olive enjoys watching cricket and tennis and loved to dance when she was younger. “I don’t feel any different now that I am 100,” she says. “All of the children in my family keep me alive.”
This is evident in the way that her niece laughs and says, ‘she’s still full of nonsense’. As for the future, Olive would love to have a ride on the Gautrain. “We are putting this plan into action, and hope to take her soon,” says Vanessa.