A 63-year-old grandmother of five who can neither read nor write is in a state of disbelief after becoming South Africa’s latest millionaire‚ bagging almost R57-million in the national lottery.
Gladys Nchabeleng * told TimesLIVE that whenever she played the lotto‚ she randomly selected numbers from rows on the betting sheet.
“I looked at the lotto paper and started writing. I started writing and then wrote on the second line. I cannot even see well. I was just guessing where the numbers are‚” said Gladys.
Dressed in a modest dress‚ blue shoes‚ a doek wrapped around her head with her children around her‚ Nchabeleng said she religiously played the lotto over the last five to six years.
“I thought since I don’t get pension‚ some luck may come my way. I would joke about how my five rands [that I used to play the lotto] were enriching other people. I would also say that perhaps the lottery is helping other people with this money‚” she said.
Before this‚ the most she had ever won was about R50.
But Gladys said with whatever winnings she had in the past‚ she would use that entire amount to bet on the next lottery game.
Asked about how she discovered she was a winner‚ she said her eldest daughter checked her ticket and one by one the numbers that were being read out matched those on her ticket.
“As she called the numbers out‚ I got up and said ‘God has answered my prayers. We have won the lotto’‚” Gladys said‚ adding that her daughter danced in celebration.
The entire family stayed up that night and did not get a wink of sleep.
They travelled to the Ithuba offices the next day to claim their winnings.
Gladys who bought her ticket in Germiston‚ was still in belief‚ adding that the excitement was yet to kick in.
“My life will be beautiful. I will be able to go to the best doctors and get good medication‚” she responded when asked how her life would change‚ revealing that she had a chronic illness.
“I will also now get transport to go to town. I will get to eat food which is eaten by other people. God has answered her prayers‚” she said.
Until now‚ she had depended on her husband for income.
“My husband had odd jobs. He was a sole provider and he could buy us mealie meal every now and then. I have not earned a living because of my ill health‚” said Gladys.
Besides getting better medical care and a car‚ Gladys said one of her biggest dreams was to fly. She plans to get on a flight to Cape Town.
She also plans to build houses for each of her five children and enrich the village where she was originally from.
“We live in mountains where there are no roads. As the rains come‚ cars cannot pass so I want to fix the roads‚” she said.
But for now‚ this elderly woman says she plans to keep the news of her winnings among her immediate family.
Flanked by four of her five children‚ Gladys was asked how she would keep her family from fighting over her winnings.
“The money is mine. They won’t fight over it. [I’ve told them] ‘if you guys fight‚ I will put that money in my account and give it away to the state’‚” she said‚ adding that her children knew she was capable of it.
This new multi-millionaire says she will not be able to stop playing the lotto.
“It is now in my blood to play… It was now my job [to play]. It would be my prayer to win since I was not educated so I cannot stop‚” she said with a laugh.
* Not her real name.
Naledi Shange- TimesLIVE