Turning One-Hundred-and-One at Nazareth House Pretoria

When you first see Mrs. Amalia Alaide Maria Snyman (nee Tasciotti) walking down the corridor, you would be forgiven for believing that this lady, who walks upright, with a spring in her step, although with the aid of a cane, looks about 85 years old.

But lean in a little closer, stop and have a chat, and be greeted with the brightest blue eyes and a smile that could light up a room. Then during the conversation, you discover this lady was born in 1921 in Florence Italy. Doing a quick calculation in your head, you realize that makes her 101 years old… Incredible.

We at Nazareth House in Pretoria are so blessed to have Mrs. Snyman as one of our residents, and to have the opportunity to celebrate her 101 years with her. So much has happened in Mrs. Snyman’s exciting life that a book has been written to capture all her memories for her generations to come.

But as an introduction to our resident, please read on where we hope to have captured some of her share-worthy moments…

Mrs Snyman at Nazareth House Pretoria celebrating her hundred-and-first birthday. – February 2022

During the Allied Liberation of Italy, Mrs. Snyman defied the German aggressors and secretly helped Allied POWs in the camps. In 1946, Mrs. Snyman met WO1 Ockert Oosthuizen, a South African Infantryman. Their love blossomed and Mrs. Snyman who could hardly speak Afrikaans married her husband in Genoa before heading back to South Africa.

Ockert had not informed his parents that they were on the way back, and so when he arrived with his new Italian wife, on the farm Bossieslaagte near to Mafeking, his mom started crying uncontrollably. But being the person she is, Mrs. Snyman quickly crept into the heart of the entire Snyman family who welcomed her with open arms.

From 1957, Mrs. Snyman dedicated her life to the Catholic Church and was extremely active in the communities she found herself in, as a Military wife. She would teach catechism, become Chairlady of the Parish Ladies Group, and help the poor and disadvantaged. Up until the age of 97 Mrs. Snyman was the Chairlady of the Maria Regina Ladies Group.

Her hard work, dedication, and commitment to the Catholic Community did not go unnoticed. On the 26th of January 2019, Archbishop of Tshwane, William Slattery presented Mrs. Snyman with the Benemerenti Medal on behalf of Pope Francis. This is a remarkable symbol of humility and dedication. Her entire life was spent in service to the Lord and that is what made her a worthy recipient of the Papal Award.


Most of us live with regret, but having lived 101 years, when asked what she has learnt during her life’s journey? Mrs. Snyman took a moment to think about it and then said that one should always put yourself in some else’s position, instead of judging that person. Don’t think only of yourself, but by understanding and truly listening you are able to provide the best assistance to that person who needs you.

Mrs Snyman is a joy to have at Nazareth House Pretoria. She’s full of life and it’s a blessing to celebrate her hundred-and-first birthday with her. – February 2022

“I’m often asked if I would like to return to live in Italy. my answer is no. I could never have lived there again. Every visit there was pleasant, but I always wanted to come back to South Africa, which very much became home. The lifestyles of the two countries are completely different. Life in Italy just didn’t suite me anymore. Here in South Africa I feel the space. It is wonderful to have wide, open space. The weather is fantastic and the people are friendly.”

And the ultimate question… What is her secret to longevity? With a bright smile and shining eyes the message was plain and simple… Focus on the best in life. Always try to be positive and optimistic in all situations. Anger can destroy your health.

Mrs. Snyman you are truly an inspiration! We thank you for choosing Nazareth House Pretoria, sharing your stories and inspiring all those around you to be their best. From all of us at Nazareth Care we wish you Happy Birthday!

If you would like more information about Nazareth House Pretoria, our services, our rates, or availability. Please contact us via the form below.

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