Melane Bunga Jackson, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday in Mzwnini, near Mooiplaas, is rejoicing after receiving a water tank for his birthday on Friday. A 100 year old Eastern Cape man will no longer have to walk long distances carrying a bucket to fetch water after a national grocery store gave him a tank as a birthday present. He was also treated to a night in East London’s ICC hotel, where he was pampered on his birthday. Melane Jackson was used to walking more than 7km whenever he needed water but Boxer Superstores changed that when they surprised him last week with the much needed tank. Jackson recently celebrated his 100th birthday in the Mooiplaas village of Mzwini. He got more than he expected for his milestone celebration when a relative, TruFM presenter Sithembele “DJ Mantofontofo” Thomas, organised a birthday celebration on September 19.

On Friday, his gift of a 2,500litre water tank, complete with roof gutters to help collect water, was delivered by Boxer officials. The father of seven, who has 27 grandchildren, lives alone and had to collect water from nearby sources all his life. Jackson, who recently lost a daughter, walked the 71cm distance with a 20litre bucket and this propelled Thomas to ask local businesses to donate the present to him. After hearing about his plight, Boxer regional manager Lesley Naicker and Duncan Village branch manager Zama Marele, with the Boxer build division, delivered the tank to Jackson’s home. Marketing director Andrew Mills said they had to intervene to assist Jackson.

We heard about his story and we know that he used to walk so far every single day to carry water, and we heard that he’s done this since he was a little He used to walk far every day to carry water since he was a little boy boy and now he’s passed a century” Mills said. We wanted to help him so that he has more time to spend with his grandchildren and share his stories.” Thomas said he felt he had to do something as Jackson was an inspiration. He still walks around and looks after his cattle,” he said. “He’s out looking for his cows as we speak and he says that is his secret to a healthy life.” Thomas said the centenarian was sad after the death of his daughter as she was taking care of him. That affected his spirits and after we delivered the tank he said he was getting better. He was so excited and could not contain himself when the tank arrived, he wanted to carry it himself, that’s how excited he was.”