Last year
Ontlametse Phalatse’s family members, Kabelo More and Tshimologo Phalatse celebrating with her. Photos by Samson Ratswana Photo by  ~ 

EVERY year Ontlametse Phalatse defies all odds!

This year the world will watch her celebrate her 18th birthday on 25 March.

The young woman from Hebron, outside Mabopane in Tshwane, embraces the gift of life.

Ontlametse was the first black child in the world to be diagnosed with the rare genetic condition, progeria.

The condition causes a child’s body to age fast. Ontlametse was told people who suffer from the disease tend to live up to the age of 13.

But not only is Ontlametse still standing, she is going strong and looking forward to her next birthday.

To celebrate her milestone, Pick n Pay in Soshanguve and the Tshwane Rotary Club planned an early birthday surprise for her on Wednesday.

The store owner, George Senosha, said his staff baked her a cake to show appreciation for her life.

“It’s the least we could do to show her that she is a blessing to the world and that we appreciate her,” he said.

Ontlametse said she was overwhelmed by the celebration.

“It really caught me by surprise because I was looking forward to my birthday next Saturday,” she said.

She plans to become a life coach and motivational speaker. “I will devote myself to making children courageous,” she said.

Before celebrating her big day, she will give a motivational talk to defence force members in Tshwane.

“It will be the best birthday gift I will give myself as this is something I love,” said Ontlametse.

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