Renishaw Hills celebrates as resident, Fern Stievenart, turns 100!

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Born in Belgium in 1922, shortly after the end of the first World War, Fern Steivenart has lived through some of the world’s most profound historic moments in human history. The crumbling of ancient empires, the fight for women’s rights, the creation of the atom bomb, the world’s most expensive wars, the first moon landing, the discovery of DNA, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. And on 20 August 2022, Fern celebrated a life well-lived with family and friends at Renishaw Hills on the mid-KZN South Coast as she marked her 100th year on Earth.

“It is truly a momentous occasion that one of our very own has joined the esteemed Centenarians Club,” said Phil Barker of Renishaw Coastal Precinct. “Fern is an incredible example of someone who truly lives life to the fullest, and is such an asset to the Renishaw Hills community. We all wish her many happy returns on this iconic birthday!”

According to the World Economic Forum, Fern joins more than half a million members who are 100 and older right now. And she has had quite a life during the past century. Fern was only 17 years old when World War 2 broke out, but this did little to stop her from qualifying as a dressmaker, a skill she has used throughout her life.

Testament to her exuberant life, Fern met her husband Gilbert at a Mardi Gras Carnival while she was still a student. However, the couple waited until the war was over before they tied the knot. With jobs scarce following the devastation of the past few years, she and her husband courageously moved over to Bukavu in the Belgian Congo.

“We ran a material and haberdashery business, importing fabrics from Belgium and France. After independence in 1960, we literally packed all our belongings in a friend’s truck and drove to Natal [KZN], a trip that took three weeks. My husband loved fishing and we both loved the warm climate, so Natal became home,” recalled Fern.

Having come from the French-speaking Belgian Congo, at the age of 38 Fern suddenly had to learn how to speak English when she arrived in Durban – something she considers her greatest achievement. The down-to-earth centenarian could now indulge in her hobbies, enjoying time at the sea, travelling and creating beautiful garments. In 2019, the mother-of-six and grandmother-of-10 relocated to Renishaw Hills.

When asked what the secret to a long and healthy life was, Fern immediately responded: “No smoking! I’m not a big drinker and only really enjoyed the occasional sherry or wine. I took no medication until the age of 95 and this was for blood pressure. Although I wasn’t really into sports, I did a lot of walking, and this kept me healthy.”

The last 100 years have brought forth the greatest technological advancements in the human age. Asked what she considers to be the most impactful invention in her lifetime, Fern responded: “Without a doubt, television!”

Located in Scottburgh on the mid-South Coast, Renishaw Hills is a quality coastal estate that forms part of the Renishaw Coastal Precinct. This 2.6-million square metre, mixed-use development includes residential, retail, educational, healthcare and light industrial/commercial zones. The first development within the precinct, Renishaw Hills boasts extensive nature trails, high-end facilities, and welcoming communities for retirees.

Discover why Renishaw Hills residents live happy, healthy and prosperous lives by arranging a private tour. Book an in-person or virtual tour of Renishaw Hills, or attend any of the Open Days held every weekend, beginning 29 October 2022. Email or visit