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Pinetown centenarian shares about her adventurous life

Daphne Mingard, fondly known as Tups, recently turned a 100.

A PINETOWN centenarian is living testament to the adage that age is nothing but a number and that a life well-lived is a simpler life, filled with love, adventure and purpose.

Daphne Mingard, fondly known as Tups, celebrated her 100th birthday at The Village Retirement Home surrounded by friends and family.

The youngest of four children, Tups was born to missionary parents in Kroonstad in 1923.

Always the tiniest tot in the group, she earned herself the nickname Tuppence (Tups) from the outset.

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Her father passed away when she was 12, and as a result of circumstance, she attended the remainder of her schooling at Epworth Girls Boarding School, seeing her mother and siblings only a few times during the school year. She then went to nursing college.

She met and married a game ranger, Eric Mingard, in 1948, and between 1948 and 1969, they lived and adventured together in rural Kruger Park, in Livingstone in Zimbabwe and Lutali in Zambia while raising their four children.

In 1969, they chose a more urban lifestyle and moved to Grahamstown, retiring to Hibberdene on the South Coast of KZN before moving to Kloof in 2000.

Born in a time when women were not able to attend university, and cars, radios and telephones were still unfamiliar machines, Tups has not only seen history unfold but defied societal expectations and stereotypes.

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In her early twenties, she said she learnt to fly the still-novel crop-duster aeroplane on her uncle’s farm and went on to become the first female pilot in South Africa in the mid-1940s, paving the way for countless women who aspired to soar to new heights.

Even at a time when pursuing their dreams was unconventional for women, she proved it is never too late to achieve your goals when she enrolled as a full-time accounting student at Rhodes University in her late 50s, making her the oldest female student at Rhodes on record at the time.

When asked about the secret to a long and happy life, she said, “Nothing special. I just got on with it.”

Her definition of ‘getting on with it’ included a consistent daily routine, starting with a cup of tea before sunrise, light exercise (preferably outside), healthy home-cooked food, time dedicated to relationships, some planning for tomorrow and a daily sundowner. Simple, with no space for complaint, over-indulgence, waste or boredom.

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