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98-year-old reveals the secret to a long life

At the age of 98, Theresa Caniel has lived a full life.

Born in Italy in 1921 and growing up in a poor family as the eldest of five children, she has never sat still a day in her life, having looked after younger siblings at a young age.

“I did all kinds of odd jobs such as shopping for people or working in the garden, just to bring some income into the household so we could get the things we needed,” she recalled.

With a smile, Caniel remembered how, as children, she and her siblings assisted their grandfather on the farm with the animals, working the land, enjoying the fruits of their labour. “Those were the best times of my life and even though we did not have much money, the little things in life made us rich.”

In Italy, Caniel explained, difficult times were faced during the war. “We had to endure the loud sounds of the bombs, weapons, fighting, scarcity of food and lives being lost.”

In 1946 she moved to South Africa and proudly says she married a South African soldier who fought in the war. “We moved to Hermanus in 1960 and after almost 30 years of marriage, my husband passed away. I have been alone ever since,” said Caniel.

Being old does not stop her from doing her daily tasks of cleaning, cooking and shopping. “I am a very tidy person, and I know that I am not as young as I used to be, but if I can at least clean one room a day I am satisfied.”

Caniel said the secret to living a long and prosperous life is hard work and keeping on going. She always stays positive and takes each day as it comes. She added that she always prays for peace, and encourages others always to strive towards it.

“If you have peace you can do wonderful things.”

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