By Demetria Banda
Bernadina Zulu Ziyaye of Ludzi Parish in Mchinji celebrated her 100 years of existence at a colorful ceremony on Saturday 9 October 2021 in Khombe village .
Born on 28th April 1920, the 101-year Bernadina Zulu Ziyaye Acknowledges her long life to deep faith in God and positive attitude to people.
“It’s my love of the Lord that has kept me alive till today. He holds me in His hand. He leads me and guides me, that’s who I put my trust in. I also make sure I don’t cause harm to people’s lives but rather love everyone as I love myself,” said Ziyaye.
She then urged everyone to always pray to God for He is the owner of the life.
“Prayer is the only weapon to a successful life, if you want to live long, make God your best friend”. She added
She further says her greatest strength is the love that her children and grandchildren show her and urged them to always take good care of her.
Justina Pulumuka, her10th born daughter said her mother is well known with her love for God and her passion of raising her kids in a Christian way which has made it possible for her to produce Church Leaders.
“My Mother is a prayerful woman; a day cannot pass without praying to God who she believes is the reason she is still alive today. And because of that love she had for God she managed to have some of her Children serving the Catholic Church which includes the late Archbishop of Lilongwe Diocese Most Reverend Tarcisio Ziyaye, Sr Agatha Ziyaye and her Grandson Fr Stephen Chikhasu,” Said Pulumuka
“My mother is a very smart person; her character is the foundation of our family. All the members of our clan are glad she’s still around, despite her old age she makes sure her clothes are always clean and her room is always smart. I have also learnt from her to love and cherish everyone me, she also taught me to always share with the less fortunate the little things that God blessed me with,” added Pulumuka
Fr Stephen Chikhasu, Ziyaye’s Grandson, says that her family is nothing short of blessed to have Bernadina in their lives.
“As Grand-children we are glad because she shares with us her wisdom, and her smiles are rays of hope for the family. It’s really special. She is an honest person and she has taught us to be honest, courageous and speak the truth.
Bernadina’s motto is taken from Psalm 146:2 “I will praise the Lord all my life”
National Director for Pontifical Mission Societies, Fr Vincent Mwakhwawa said it is very important to celebrates life of Faithful woman who have lived many years serving God.
“This occasion is very important because we are celebrating life of faith of a strong woman who has lived 100 years with great faith. In this celebration we are looking at three aspects of life particularly life of faith in prayer, this woman in clocking 100 years she has expressed it herself in her words and also her life that Prayer is of important and paramount. She has lived in prayer in difficulties and in raising her children”
“At the same time, we are also celebrating life of commitment, missionary life of service through this woman. We have heard the testimony her that she has been as hardworking woman in family life as well as in faith as a Legion of Mary member and this life of Committed service as a believer in faith has also gone to the children and grandchildren that’s we had a very dedicated Archbishop from the Family (Late Archbishop Tarcisio Ziyaye),” explained fr Mwakhwawa
Fr Mwakhwawa added that through the same woman we also looked at the life of self-giving and sharing everything as she treats everyone equally. He later thanked the Ziyaye family for taking good care of Mrs. Bernadina Ziyaye and urged everyone to take care of elderly people where ever they as they need special care.
one of the oldest recorded people to ever live in Malawi was married 1941 to Gervase Ziyaye who passed on in 2002 (61 years in marriage), had eleven children, now remaining with 5 Children and 61 Grandchildren.