Mugabe teacher worlds oldest man

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The worlds oldest man is a retired Zimbabwean teacher who counts President Robert Mugabe among his former students, it has been claimed.

Oscar Munyoro Katsukunya claims to have been born in 1897 in Kutama district, some 67km west of Harare.

His 115 years equal the oldest undisputed lifespan for a male super centenarian, Christian Mortensen of the United States, who lived for 115 years and 252 days before his death in 1998.

Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at age 122, is said to be the oldest unambiguously documented human to walk the earth. Katsukunya who moves around with the aid of a wheelchair was interviewed on State television on Tuesday this week as Mugabe celebrated his 88th birthday.

Speaking with great difficulty, he told State television he vividly remembers teaching the intelligent young boy Mugabe in Sub A (Grade 1 equivalent) back in 1931.

He would have been 34 at the time, and Mugabe just seven. Proving his claim would be difficult, however. In a majority cases, birth certificates during the colonial era were rarely issued to black Africans, and most births occurred in primitive thatched hut settings.

In instances where birth certificates were issued, this would be several years after a childs birth often when the children needed to enrol in school, and exact birth dates would become a matter of guesswork with seasonal changes and droughts being used as markers.

Kutsukunya, who did his teacher training at Kutama Mugabes birth place however can rely on one marker to stand up his claim: Mugabes age.

The two men have an age gap of 27 and some would say his claims are more than likely plausible, with his literacy weighing in his favour.

His fifth-born son, Emmanuel (62), told of his pride at his accomplishment.

I think he is a legend and hero in his own right. After all, he taught a head of state, Emmanuel said. The elder Kutsukunya said he had met Mugabe twice since he became President.

State television reported he wishes he could meet his student again one day before destiny catches up with him.