Centenarian hopes vote will inspire

An excited Muriel Lack, who recently celebrated her 109th birthday, cast her special-vote in Beacon Bay yesterday
An excited Muriel Lack, who recently celebrated her 109th birthday, cast her special-vote in Beacon Bay yesterday
Image: MARK ANDREWS

Muriel Lack is no stranger to the polling booth. She has voted at every national election in the new South Africa, and on Monday again put her X on both the national and provincial ballots. The achievement would hardly be newsworthy aside from one fact – on Saturday last week Lack turned 109 years old, making her one of the province’s oldest voters.

“It was a little confusing for my mother because we had made arrangements for her to vote in the normal manner on Wednesday,” said Brian Lack, her son. “She doesn’t like her age to be an excuse for anything, including voting. In fact, the special vote on Monday caught us by surprise. I had to rush home to my house in Beacon Bay to get her document.”

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Brian described the service by IEC officials as excellent.

“They read out the name of every party on the ballot, both provincial and national. Although it was a bit difficult for her to remember each choice, the problem was easily overcome. She remembered who she had voted for the last time around and decided to stick with that party.”

Brian said a few months ago he had asked his mother if she wanted to vote.

Of course, I am going to vote ... It is my civic duty to vote and I hope I can encourage the rest of South Africa to vote.

“Of course, I am going to vote,” she had replied. “It is my civic duty to vote and I hope I can encourage the rest of South Africa to vote.”

Muriel Lack may well get her wish. She was on a live broadcast of national TV.

Without IEC research, it is impossible to ascertain whether or not Lack, who lives at Kennersley Park Old Age Home, is SA’s oldest voter. However, she is certainly one of the oldest.

Lack was delighted to have another chance to do her bit to shape the country’s political future, and waved her hand at the onlookers, proudly showing her voting “thumb of honour”, with the blackened nail.

Lack is a wheelchair user, the result of a fall suffered four years ago, but the injury has done nothing to dampen her zest for life.

“If one thinks back to 1910, when she was born, she has seen the world shift from horse-drawn carriages to the possibility of people colonising Mars. I am glad for her that her vote might be the inspiration for other people, especially the youth, to do the same,” Brian said.

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