|Jose Aguinelo dos Santos|
He has no children, smokes cigarettes by the packet and lives in a home for the poor in São Paulo. Jose Aguinelo dos Santos is in many ways an unremarkable man. Until you see his national identity card.
According to the document he was born on the 7th July 1888, which if verified would make him the world’s oldest man. That’s the claim being made by Vila Vicentina, the São Paulo institution where dos Santos is a resident.
Photo: Alan Schneider
According to the staff at Vila Vicentina he is not much of a talker but he remembers a slave compound in Pedra Branca in the state of Ceara, where he is thought to have been born. Slavery having been officially, if not practically, abolished 2 months before his age, dos Santos is said to be the son of freed Afro-Brazilian slaves.
He was one of six children living in a community of freed slaves where there were no beds. Later in his life Jose worked as a manual labourer on a coffee plantation in the São Paulo town of Bauru.
|Photo: Alan Schneider|
The old people's home now proposes to definitively prove that he is the world's oldest man by using 'Carbon-14' dating techinques.