Imagine living through the Spanish flu, two world wars and apartheid. This is the reality of Fredie Blom, believed to be South Africa’s oldest man and possibly the world’s.
Blom, a Delft resident, is said to turn a whopping 116 this year on May 8. He was allegedly born in 1904 in Adelaide in the Eastern Cape. According to the Daily Voice, the centenarian was 14 when the Spanish flu reached the country. He lost his sister to the virus, and even slept outside on a haystack to avoid getting the disease himself.
Blom moved to Cape Town in search of employment and worked as a gardener and chopped wood until he was 106.
He has been married to wife Jeanette Blom, 87, for 50 years. The pair do not have any children, although Jeanette has two from a previous marriage that Blom considers his own.
The Guinness World Book of Records is in the process of verifying Blom’s age. If his age is true, he would be named the oldest living man in the world. Currently, 112-year-old Bob Weighton from the UK holds the title.
Blom is in good health, and even smokes tobacco pipe still. According to the Daily Voice, he still washes and dresses himself, although he now walks with a stick. He also struggles to hear. He spends most of his days outside in his yard.
Speaking to News24, Blom said that there is no secret to his longevity.
“It’s the boss upstairs who decided that my time isn’t up yet. I smoke my tobacco. I don’t go to the doctor. All I drink is an Eno and a Disprin tablet every day. And I am fine,” he said in 2019.
According to community member Gairoenesa Michael, Blom struggles to understand the current COVID-19 pandemic. He was greatly upset to hear that he could not purchase tobacco.
To celebrate his birthday this year, family and friends are holding a ‘drive-by birthday’. Michael explains that anyone wanting to make Blom’s birthday extra special may donate vouchers, groceries or blankets.
Anyone wanting to gift Blom may contact Gairoenesa Michael on 082 763 7630 to arrange.
Picture: screenshot from video