Ons Tuis > News  > || PRESS RELEASE || Willie Smit is turning 100 tomorrow and honours God for being his compass

|| PRESS RELEASE || Willie Smit is turning 100 tomorrow and honours God for being his compass

Ons Tuis: Rivera marked 1 June 2021 as a historical milestone when Willie Smit moved to their retirement home at the age of 99. He will be celebrating his 100th birthday tomorrow, 10 June 2021.

“He certainly is the oldest resident we have ever admitted at any of our Ons Tuis homes. We hope tomorrow will be a very special day and pray God’s blessing onto him in the extraordinary year ahead,” says Sr Sonja Stander, manager of Ons Tuis: Riviera.

As the middle child of six siblings, Willem Frederick Jacobus Smit was born on 10 June 1921 in the Witwatersrand district near Boksburg. Three of them are still alive. A childhood memory he recalls is the distance they had to walk getting to school.

“Most of the time I had to carry my younger sister, Hanna, on my back. She was the smallest and got tired quickly,” he says.

According to oom Willie the toughest time of his life was during the second world war when he struggled to find a job. “I started my trade at Simmer & Jack and worked on the goldfields at Welkom until my forties,” he says.

He then spend his most joyous years, as he refers to them, with his beloved family in the Highveld where he farmed with sheep and cattle. Oom Willie and his wife, Henriëtte, also retired to Hartenbos for a few years before they, due to aging, had to relocate to Pretoria. The couple was blessed to have had three daughters and one son (of whom two daughters are still alive), seven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

The investment made in educating South Africa’s youth acclaims to be the most progress he has seen over his lifetime.

“Way back we started encouraging on the young boys to learn: practical skills as well attaining an academic qualification. I grew up in a time when there was a huge shortage of craftsman — men who could meaningfully work with their hands, such as fitter and turners. By motivating the youth South Africa has bridged this gap and people started seizing a career,” he says.

His birthday wish is for people to love one another because, he says, if you can not go to heaven you are in trouble! According to oom Willie people must learn how to love and respect each other unconditionally, and to always offer help whenever they can.

“I have experienced a life filled with sadness, happiness and joy. Above all the grace and blessing of the Lord have been my compass for the past 100 years,” he concludes.

DATE: 9 June 2021

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