Broadacres’ Henri Postema turns 100

12 Dec 2017Village News

Evergreen Broadacres resident Henri Postema celebrated his 100th birthday at the Evergreen Lifestyle Estate recently. Find out more about the party and one man’s exceptional life.

In November 1917 Russia was taken over by communist rule, World War I was about to enter its final, bloody 12 months, and one very special Broadacres resident was born into the world.

Henri Postema, who lives in the Evergreen Lifestyle Estate in Broadacres, celebrated his 100th birthday at the estate’s lifestyle centre on 29 November. Postema’s friends, neighbours and community organised the special event in his honour and took the opportunity to enjoy Henri’s favourite food, speeches in his tribute and a fun night out.

Craig Stacey (90), who Henri Postema calls his bodyguard. Craig assists Henri in driving him to collect Henri’s disabled daughter for lunch, assisting him to walk down to Bistro in the Evergreen Village and collecting his post.

Craig Stacey (90), who Henri Postema calls his bodyguard. Craig assists Henri in driving him to collect Henri’s disabled daughter for lunch, assisting him to walk down to Bistro in the Evergreen Village and collecting his post. Photo: Kiloran Townsend

Craig Stacey (90), who Henri Postema calls his bodyguard. Craig assists Henri in driving him to collect Henri’s disabled daughter for lunch, assisting him to walk down to Bistro in the Evergreen Village and collecting his post. Photo: Kiloran Townsend

Born in the Netherlands on 30 November 1917, Postema worked in the Dutch East Indies [a former Dutch colony, now the Republic of Indonesia] until World War II broke out in 1939. He lived in Britain for a few years but then decided to travel back to his home country in 1949.

“It was on the boat ride home that Henri met his wife Riet Holman, who he married in April 1950,” explained fellow Evergreen resident Kiloran Townsend. “Henri and Riet came out to South Africa on the SS Zuiderkruis in 1951.”

After arriving in the country, the Postema family lived in Braamfontein for a short while before moving to Craighall Park, which they called home for about 40 years. Henri and Riet had three children together: a son named Pieter and twin daughters named Maryke and Madeleine. They ran a factory in Doornfontein which made welding aprons, caps and other protective clothing for companies like Afrox.

Henri moved to Evergreen in 2014 after his wife passed on.

Henri Postema and his son Pieter give a speech at his 100th birthday celebration party at Evergreen Lifestyle Estate.

Henri Postema and his son Pieter give a speech at his 100th birthday celebration party at Evergreen Lifestyle Estate. Photo: Kiloran Townsend

“There were about 144 people at his birthday party, and about 20 of those were his family members,” explained Chris Edwards, also of the estate.

“He’s well-liked and an icon here at Evergreen, and was also one of the first people I met when I moved here!”

Henri had three birthday cakes at his party, two of which were given as a gift by the Broadacres Spar.

Henri had three birthday cakes at his party, two of which were given as a gift by the Broadacres Spar. Photo: Kiloran Townsend

His party was organised by fellow residents Judy Stuart and Marilyn MacLachlan with plenty of help from other residents too and saw the chairman of Evergreen Graham Langmead as a guest.

“Henri also asked that for his party, guests get to eat nasi goreng, a spicy Indonesian dish popular in Holland. The caterers used Henri’s own recipe and spices in preparing the dish,” Edwards concluded.

Henri Postema’s birthday cake is a gift from Broadacres Spar and features a photo of him as a young man.

Henri Postema’s birthday cake is a gift from Broadacres Spar and features a photo of him as a young man. Photo: Kiloran Townsend

Judy Stuart and Marilyn Maclachlan are the residents who organised the 100th birthday celebration and they were ably assisted by a bevvy of other residents who decorated the clubhouse, laid the tables and hung up lights.

Judy Stuart and Marilyn Maclachlan are the residents who organised the 100th birthday celebration and they were ably assisted by a bevvy of other residents who decorated the clubhouse, laid the tables and hung up lights. Photo: Kiloran Townsend

Reef Caterer’s staff, headed by Hendra Kleyhaus (right), who prepared Henri’s favourite spicy Indonesian dish for the evening – nasi goreng – using Henri’s recipe and spices.

Reef Caterer’s staff, headed by Hendra Kleyhaus (right), who prepared Henri’s favourite spicy Indonesian dish for the evening – nasi goreng – using Henri’s recipe and spices. Photo: Kiloran Townsend

Evergreen’s chairman Graham Langmead pays tribute to Henri Postema at his 100th birthday celebrations in the brand-new lifestyle centre of the village.

Evergreen’s chairman Graham Langmead pays tribute to Henri Postema at his 100th birthday celebrations in the brand-new lifestyle centre of the village. Photo: Kiloran Townsend