Believed to be the oldest living man in South Africa – and possibly the world – Fredie Blom, is celebrating his 116th birthday today – 8 May 2020. The Delft resident has lived through two world wars, the Spanish flu pandemic and apartheid.
Blom was allegedly born in 1904 in Adelaide in the Eastern Cape. According to reports, Blom was 14 when the Spanish flu reached the country and he lost his sister to the virus.
The Guinness World Book of Records is in the process of verifying Blom’s age. If his age is accurate, he would be named the oldest living man in the world taking the title from the current record holder, 112-year-old Bob Weighton from the UK.
According to reports, Blom is still in good health, he still washes and dresses without any help and even smokes tobacco pipe every day, spending most of his days outside in the yard.
When speaking to News24 last year, Blom said there was no secret to his longevity, “it’s the boss upstairs who decided that my time isn’t up yet,” he said, “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.”
Blom is apparently struggling to understand the current COVID-19 pandemic and was devasted to learn that he could not purchase tobacco during the lockdown. According to his wife Janneta, Blom prides himself on being independent and is getting frustrated that he can’t purchase tobacco, “he is stressed about having no more tobacco, she told TimesLive, “he used to roll his own with newspaper, that was his hobby. Nothing can comfort him now.”
To celebrate his birthday this year, family and friends are holding a ‘drive-by birthday’. Community manager Gairoenesa Michael said that anyone wanting to make Blom’s birthday extra special may donate vouchers, groceries or blankets and can contact 082 763 7630 to arrange to send Mr Fredie Blom a gift.