The ‘world’s oldest woman’ dies at the age of 128 following a suspected stroke


The oldest person in the world, a woman from South Africa, passed away at the age of 128.

According to local reports, mother-of-seven Johanna Mazibuko passed away on March 3 in her home in Jouberton, North West Province. She would have turned 129 in May.

Her family members claimed she possessed identification documents proving her birth date of May 11, 1894, and upbringing on a maize field. They said she never attended school and was illiterate.

Mazibuko’s caregiver and daughter-in-law Thandiwe Wesinyana suggested Mazibuko may have passed away from a stroke in an interview with News24.

On the occasion of her 128th birthday, Mazibuko expressed her amazement at her continued existence. I’m still here, why? People have been dying all around me.

When will I pass away? What purpose does life serve? I am simply sitting here doing nothing, and the world has worn me out,” she added.

On Saturday, Mazibuko will be laid to rest in Jouberton, Klerksdorp. She was one of 12 sibilings, three of whom are still living now.

We had such a good life on the farms, she told News24. There were no issues back then. I don’t have vivid memories of my youth, but I do recall a locust invasion.

‘We could catch and consume some of them. That felt similar to eating beef. We used to simply fry them and consume them on their own.

I had a largely healthy childhood diet of fresh milk and wild spinach. I now consume contemporary cuisine. I am acclimated to it yet I miss the meals I grew up on’.

Although she can’t recall the exact day, she married Stawana Mazibuko, an elderly widower. She claimed that he owned cows, his previous wife had passed away, and she would produce butter.

He made sure I didn’t lack for anything, Johanna remarked.

They had seven children—two of whom are still alive—and mourned in South Africa together with their more than 50 grandkids and great-grandchildren.

Mazibuko survived both World Wars as well as two worldwide pandemics (Covid-19 and the Spanish Flu). She lived through the British monarchy of Queen Victoria, the Wright brothers’ historic flight, and the first Russian revolution.

According to caregiver Thandiwe, she was admitted to the hospital on February 14 for treatment for a stroke and released on February 28.

She died at home three days later and will be buried on Saturday at Jouberton.

We enjoyed praying together and spent the majority of our days chatting and drinking tea, Thandiwe said News24. I’m not sure who I’ll enjoy myself with anymore.

My heart hurts, a wound has opened, and I am broken. The neighborhood is in mourning. All of us have lost our mothers, she remarked.

The oldest living person is a 115-year-old woman who was born in San Francisco. Once the 118-year-old French nun Sister André passed away earlier in 2023, she was given the title.

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