BEING mindful of what you eat and obeying your parents can take you very far in life.

This is the advice from 115-year-old madala Joseph Mngoma from Mkhobose Reserve in Empangeni, northern KZN.

He celebrated his birthday on Saturday. It was organised by his ward councillor.

Joseph said from a very young age, he taught himself not to eat for the sake of eating.

“I only eat vegetables fresh from the soil. They don’t cause complications in the body.

“Instead they make you strong. As you can see, I may be old but I’m still going strong.”

He said he still ploughed his garden and did small walking exercises to keep fit. He said listening to his parents may have given him a longer life.

“They told me what I needed to do and avoid to go far in life. I did as they said and look how far it has got me.”

He warned young people to stay away from booze and drugs.

Joseph had three wives, but one of them died a few years ago. He has 10 kids and seven grandkids.

One of his wives, Busisiwe (57), said: “We thank God for keeping him this long. Not everyone is this lucky. That’s why we’re grateful to have him.”

Councillor Sikhumbuzo Zuma said: “Last year he told me he’d be turning 115 this year. I verified this and it led to this celebration.”

Zuma said it was important to celebrate the elderly as they were rich in history.