What do you give someone on their 106th birthday? In Minnie Hanslo’s case, a celebration with scores of relatives and friends. Minnie was applauded loudly as she walked almost unassisted to her birthday party last Wednesday.

The party was hosted by the George and Annie Starck Homes in Bellville, where Minnie and her son Dudley (82) are both residents.

“This is a historic moment,” Simone Bastiaanse, general manager of the retirement village, said during the event. “It’s the first time someone has turned 106 at our home. And having her son Dudley here with her is quite unusual.”

Bastiaanse said Minnie has touched many lives and has a true interest in her fellow humans.

“She is a strong lady who has defied many odds.” Dudley, who gave a speech in honour of his mother, said he is grateful to still be graced by her presence.

Wilhelmina Frederika “Minnie” Hanslo (née Nelsen) was born in Deep River in 1912. In her lifetime she has looked on as two world wars raged, the first man on set foot on the moon and sliced bread was invented in 1928.

She was born the second of 10 children. The daughter of her older brother Edward (Teddy) was also at the celebration. One of her two brothers died during the influenza epidemic which killed around 50 million people worldwide in 1918.

Her father worked for the city council and as there were so many mouths to feed, the children went to school barefoot for a large part of their lives.

“When she got shoes, she could only wear them to school and back,” Dudley told the audience.

She finished school in Standard 6 and married Dougie Hanslo, who had completed Standard 7.

They initially stayed in Woodstock, but later moved to Parow. One story in particular stands out for Dudley.

“I was three and my brother Peter six, and my mother used to take us for walks in Parow. There were no tarred roads.” One day, in 1939, she saw a vacant shop and decided to buy it with 50 pounds she had saved.”

Minnie opened Hanslo’s general dealer, which did so well her husband later joined her in running the business. They later opened a bed-and breakfast in Sea Point.

Over the years Minnie has survived cancer and had a hip replacement last year, but is generally in good health.

Her son Peter is now 85 and has been living in Vancouver, Canada, for 50 years. She has numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Minnie Hanslo (106) and her son Dudley (82) at her birthday party last week at the George and Annie Starck Homes in Bellville. Both are residents of the retirement village.


Source: Tyger-Burger Bellville Woensdag, 7 November 2018 – NIELEN DE KLERK