Helen Adams celebrated her 100th birthday at Trianon Health Care Centre in Diep River on Tuesday.
Helen was an avid sportswoman who played tennis, golf and bowls, and her former bowling mates from Constantia Bowling Club attended the centenary celebration.
She was born in Rooiberg in the Northern Transvaal but spent most of her childhood in Warmbaths, now Bela-Bela, a small town north of Pretoria.
She went to Pretoria Girls High School, but when World War II came, she had to leave school to help her father at the garage he owned.
“There weren’t any men around so she did a bit of everything. She basically ran the garage,” said Lorna Browning, her eldest daughter.
Shortly afterwards, she met her husband, George Adams, a postmaster, who was a friend of her only brother.
Helen and George married in 1943, and shortly after, George was sent to North Africa to fight in the war.
After the war in the 1950s, they moved to Ventersdorp, where Lorna was born. Their second daughter, Jean Adams Strickland, came four years after Lorna.
The family moved around the Northern Transvaal and Natal, where they settled in Donnybrook.
Some of the friends they made from their time in Donnybrook also attended the birthday celebration.
Helen was 51 when George died of a heart attack in 1971.
In 1983, she decided to move to the Cape because both of her daughters had moved to the province.
She lived in a flat in Burswood in Bergvliet from 1983 and then moved to Trianon in 2000.
A lot of her friends from Burswood also attended the birthday lunch.
Helen was unable to speak much due to her advanced age, but her daughter, Jean, said: “Mom has been in good health and has still kept a very good sense of humour. Everybody loves her.
“She’s very shy about all this fuss that is being made over her, but 100 years is definitely something to celebrate.”