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Offbeat

At age 114, South African Fredie Blom thinks it’s time he quit smoking

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2018, 10:27am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2018, 9:07pm

The year Fredie Blom was born, in 1904, Rolls-Royce rolled out its first car and the Wright brothers built their second powered aeroplane.

Earlier this month, Blom, who is believed to be the oldest man alive, celebrated his 114th birthday at his home in Delft, a township outside Cape Town, South Africa, according to the Western Cape Department of Social Development. Video footage shows Bloom wearing a yellow and green baseball cap and a sport coat. In the video, he says that although he has lived a long life, he does not know the secret to his success.

“There’s only one thing – it’s the man above,” he said, crediting God for his longevity, according to BBC News. “He’s got all the power. I have nothing. I can drop over anytime but He holds me.”

“I feel very healthy, I’m good,” Blom added. “My heart is strong but it’s only my legs that are giving in – I can’t walk the way I used to.”

He told BBC News that he gave up alcohol years ago, but he still smokes tobacco several times per day. Specifically, he said, he smokes “pills,” a term used by the locals to mean tobacco rolled in newspaper, resembling a cigarette, according to BBC News.

“I use my own tobacco because I don’t smoke cigarettes,” the 114-year-old said.

But he wants to quit.

“The urge to smoke is so strong,” he told BBC News. “Sometimes I tell myself I’m going to stop but it’s just me lying to myself. My chest chases me to have a puff and I’m then forced to make a ‘pill.’

“I blame the devil for that because he’s so strong.”

Still, it hasn’t seemed to hurt him. Blum has no real health issues – only a slower gait and some trouble hearing, according to BBC News.

In fact, he is believed to have outlived every other man on Earth, though the Western Cape Department of Social Development said in a statement that he has “yet to be recognised by the Guinness World Records organisation.”

In April, Guinness World Records named Japan’s Masazo Nonaka as the oldest living man. Nonaka, 112, from Ashoro, Hokkaido, assumed the title from a man in Spain, who died this year at the age of 113.

But it is France’s Jeanne Louise Calment who holds Guinness record for the “oldest person ever.” The woman, from Arles in southern France, was 122 when she died in 1997.

Guinness World Records said Blum is not currently being considered for an award, but if he wants to apply, they will work to determine his eligibility.

Born in 1904 in Adelaide in the Eastern Cape province, Blum never went to school to learn how to read or write, according to BBC News. He earned his education outdoors, hunting birds, and later went to work as a farm labourer, installing precast concrete walls throughout Cape Town. It wasn’t until he reached his 80s that he retired.

Family members said he still works with his hands, “making fire” and working around the home.

“God says, ‘honour your father and your mother then your future will be good,’” Blum told News 24.