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Kenyan woman may be oldest person at 143

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IKINU, Kenya -- A woman in Kenya's Central Province could be the oldest person in the world, according to her family, who say she is 143.

If the family's claims are to be believed, Njoki Wainaina was born more than 15 years before Livingstone met Stanley.Certainly Njoki, who lives in a village north of Nairobi, looks as though she could be 143, with her wizened face and tiny frame.

She can no longer see and can hear only with difficulty but still manages to command center stage among her family as she sings and recalls scenes from her life.

Njoki attributes her long life to God. "Who else could make me live this long? It is God who has made me live," she told Reuters.

Her longevity may have been helped by her simple diet, which includes bananas, maize, orange squash and home-brewed beer.

Italian anthropologist Giovanni Perucci studies aging among Njoki's ethnic group, the Kikuyu. He has met her several times and said she could be 140 or older.

But since she possesses no birth certificate, Njoki is unlikely ever to be officially recognized as older than Jeanne Calment of France, who died last year at 122.