‘World’s Oldest Woman’ Dies Aged 128 in South Africa from Suspected Stroke

A South African woman who was thought to be the world’s oldest person died at the age of 128.

Johanna Mazibuko, a mother of seven, died on March 3 in her Jouberton, North West Province, home. She would have been 129 in May, according to local media.

Those who knew her said she had identification documents proving she was born on May 11, 1894, and grew up on a corn farm. They claimed she had never attended school and could not read or write.


Thandiwe Wesinyana, her caregiver and daughter-in-law, told News24 that Mazibuko may have died as a result of a stroke.


Mazibuko told the publication on her 128th birthday: ‘I am amazed at why I am still here after so many years. Why am I still here? People around me have been dying.

‘When will I die? What’s the point of being alive? The world has tired me because I am just sitting here doing nothing,’ she said.

Mazibuko will be buried on Saturday in Jouberton, Klerksdorp. She was one of 12 sibilings of which three younger ones are still alive.


She told News24: ‘We lived so well on the farms. There were no problems then. I can’t remember my childhood well but I do remember a locust infestation.


‘There were ones we could catch and eat. It was like you are eating meat. We would just fry them and eat the like that just on their own.

‘I grew up healthy eating mostly fresh milk and wild spinach. Now I eat modern food. I am used to it but I miss the food I grew up on’.


She married an older widower Stawana Mazibuko, but cannot remember when. She said his first wife had died and he owned cows and she would make butter.


Johanna said: ‘He made sure I did not want for anything’.


They had 7 children, two of whom are still alive, and has over 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren and is being mourned in South Africa.


Mazibuko lived through both World Wars and two global pandemics (Covid-19 and the Spanish Flu). She lived through Queen Victoria’s reign in Britain, the Wright brothers’ first flight, and Russia’s first revolution.


Thandiwe, her caregiver, said she took her to the hospital on February 14 to be treated for a stroke and was discharged on February 28.


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


Thandiwe told News24: ‘We loved to pray together and spent most of our days drinking tea and talking. I don’t know who I’m going to have fun with anymore.


‘A wound has opened, my heart is sore, and I am shattered. The  community is saddened. We’ve all lost a mother’ she said.


Officially, the world’s oldest person is a San Francisco-born woman, aged 115. She was handed the title after the death of French nun Sister André, 118, earlier in 2023.

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