District Six resident turns 100

Jawayer Floris on her 100th birthday.

Jawayer Floris from District Six celebrated her 100th birthday last Friday.

She was born in Albert Street, District Six, to Fatima and Ishaj Freeman and is the youngest of four siblings. Her three older brothers have all since died.

Ms Floris has loved reading from a young age, and she recalls how her brother used to switch off her room light to go sleep while she was still reading.

“I would always make sure that I have a candle so that I can read under the blankets.”

Ms Floris says she had a happy married life in District Six with her husband, Ismail Floris, a furniture maker.

They lived with their four children in a house in McGregor Street.

She enjoyed going fishing with Ismail by the docks.

“My husband made his own fishing rods, and I used to go with him to the docks opposite Somerset Hospital.”

She and her family were among the many who were forced out of District Six in the 1960s under the Group Areas Act.

“Even the walls of our home were weeping,” she says of that time.

She and Ismail managed to sell their home before they were forcefully removed, and they lived in Belgravia with her family.

Her husband died in 1975 at the age of 85.

Ms Floris was one of the first District Six claimants to get restitution and she returned there in 2004. She says former president Nelson Mandela even handed her the keys to her house.

Ms Floris has six grandchildren and she still enjoys going for drives with her family, whether it be to the Waterfront or further afield to Plettenberg Bay.

Of course there is no driving around right now, but Ms Floris says lockdown isn’t keeping her up at night. “I am coping during the lockdown period, I don’t have a problem with it,” she says.

Her son, Fuad Khan, says he is amazed that his mother has made it to 100. “She hasn’t been a nuisance for anyone. She does everything for herself, and should I live that long, I hope I won’t be a nuisance for anyone.”

Ms Floris enjoyed her birthday with her children, who are staying with her during lockdown, and her neighbours also wished her well.