Home » General » 100 Not Out… Man Celebrates 100th Birthday and 71 Years of Marriage

Today is the big day for the Bizure family patriarch Sekuru Soul Kuzvarwaoga Bizure as his numerous progeny and relative and friends gather to help him celebrate notching a century. He also renews wedding vows with his childhood sweetheart Oppah, to whom he has been married for the past 71 years. Although the exact date of birth like those of most of his contemporaries is unknown, Sekuru Bizure clearly recalls getting his “chitikinyani”, a form of identification that was required before one got an identity document. His other memories also place him squarely in the middle of the second decade of the last century.

Looking too spritely for his many years, Sekuru Bizure prides himself as “having seen it all” and is eager to live even longer.

In good health and with good eye-sight, Sekuru Bizure says he still enjoys life to the max although he now walks with the help of a stick.

Without giving out exactly what his secret to longevity is, the centenarian who is a devout Christian of the Methodist Church said he owes it to the grace of God that he has lived so many years.

“I have lived well for most of my life. Ndanga ndakagara zvakanaka ndinokurudzira vanhu vasavengana, kureva nhema kana kushandisa mishonga yakaipa.”

He has some fond recollections about what happened during the war of liberation and in one instance he was forced to “bury” a comrade in a garden to conceal him from Rhodesian security forces that had arrived at his homestead. Sekuru Bizure stood by his story that he had not seen anyone passing by and they moved on.

Now with 60 grandchildren and a few great grandchildren, Sekuru Bizure met his spouse in the 1940s and they married in 1943. They raised their family in the Chihota area where they have lived for most of their life. He sired nine offspring of whom six are still alive.

The Christian legacy in the Bizure family has lingered on. The former evangelist has passed on the baton to his children and three of the sons and a daughter have answered the call and have been ordained as pastors in different churches.

“Saturday is a big day for us as the Bizure family and we are expecting the entire family, friends and relatives to join us as we celebrate not only our parents’ wedding anniversary and our father’s centenary, but we want to thank God for the gift of life,” said Pastor Alwyn Bizure (60) one of the couple’s sons.

So the family has lined up a ten-carat diamond celebration.

Pastor Bizure, a former Herald librarian, said a fun-filled entertainment programme has been lined up. These will be preceded by the renewal of wedding vows at the Greendale Methodist Church in the morning.

Then the celebrations move to the family’s Hatfield residence where a number of gospel musicians including Sebastian Magacha, Mathias Mhere and South African Joe Maphosa are billed to perform.

“It is a rare and special occasion and we have left no stone unturned to ensure that the event is a success,” he said.

Sekuru Bizure who is fondly referred to by his totem Chikonamombe, was a well known painter in his time and has recollections of the construction of houses in Mbare when he worked for the then Salisbury Municipality.

After he was initially allocated a house in the Beatrice Cottages, Chikonamombe recalls being moved to Jo’burg Lines in the same suburb.

In typical African tradition, the matriarch (VaChihera) showered praise on the centenarian and was grateful for the love and affection she has enjoyed over the years.

“We have lived a prayerful life and I am grateful that I found a partner who is devoted to Christ. We have managed to get this far through God’s grace. For all the years we have lived together and despite some disagreements we may have had, he never laid a finger on me,” she said.

The couple will certainly remain a rare spectacle for many young Zimbabweans who have struggled to remain faithful to their partners resulting in escalating divorces and discord.

Traditionally there have not been any formal ways of celebrating a century of life in Zimbabwe as most people of that age range do not know their birthdays.

Global estimates put the figure of total centenarians worldwide at about 450 000. Exact numbers may be difficult to determine, since many centenarians live in developing or outlying areas, where census data is not often available.

In other countries, people receive a gift or congratulations on their 100th birthday. In the United Kingdom the Queen sends greetings on the 100th birthday and on every birthday starting with the 105th. The tradition was first practised in 1908, when the Secretary for King Edward VII sent a congratulatory letter to Reverend Thomas Lord of Horncastle, declaring “I am commanded by the King to congratulate you on the attainment of your hundredth year, after a most useful life”.

In the United States, centenarians traditionally receive a letter from the president, congratulating them for their longevity. Japanese centenarians receive a silver cup and a certificate from the prime minister of Japan upon their 100th birthday, honouring them for their longevity and prosperity in their lives. Swedish centenarians receive a telegram from the King and Queen of Sweden. Centenarians born in Italy receive a letter from the president of Italy. In Japan, a “National Respect for the Aged Day” has been celebrated every September since 1966.

An aspect of blessing in many cultures is to offer a wish that the recipient lives to 100 years old. Among Hindus, people who touch the feet of elders are often blessed with “May you live a hundred years”. In Sweden, the traditional birthday song states, May heshe live for 100 years. In Judaism, the term May you live to be 120 years old is a common blessing.

In Poland, sto lat, a wish to live a hundred years, is a traditional form of praise and good wishes, and the song “sto lat, sto lat” is sung on the occasion of the birthday celebrations–arguably, it is the most popular song in Poland and among Poles around the globe. Chinese emperors were hailed to live 10 000 years, while empresses were hailed to live a thousand years. In Italy, “A hundred of these days!” (cento di questi giorni) is an augury for birthdays, to live to celebrate 100 more birthdays.

Some Italians say “Cent’anni!”, which means “a hundred years”, in that they wish that they could all live happily for a 100 years.

Source : The Herald