Mama Lotto

You hear so many enouraging stories about people who win the lottery and revolutionise their lives. We have all seen them and we look at these people and feel the almost inevitable envy in varying degrees. I am very proud to relate this story from a South African news site about a woman who didn’t quite follow the usual lottery winner’s path:

Sharing is Mama Lotto’s motto

By Ndivhuwo Khangale

Finally, a sensible and warm-hearted Lotto winner exists.

Unlike most jackpot winners, Lydia Nkhoma did not blow her millions on an expensive lifestyle, a mansion in a wealthy suburb, holidays abroad and designer clothing.

After winning the R10-million jackpot in 2002, the 53-year-old, from the Mookgapong township in Naboomspruit, Limpopo, spent a huge chunk of her winnings on building 10 houses for family members.

On top of that, she renovated her six-room house, developed her community and invested her money.

It was the R5 she got as a tip while working as a cleaner

Nkhoma and husband Hendriek Moatshe have not been to any exotic holiday spot – it is only now that they are planning to go to Durban during the Christmas season.

“God gave me this money to help others develop themselves,” the modest woman said when The Star met her in Naboomspruit.

As Nkhoma and her husband drove through the streets, it was evident that the two were darlings in the impoverished community.

Children screamed “Mama wa Lotto”, meaning “Mother Lotto”, while adults waved at them in respect.

Nkhoma’s house is an ordinary structure painted in cream white. All she has done is to tile the walls and floors, and buy new furniture.

Apart from building three- and four-bedroom houses for her six sisters, two sons aged 24 and 33, her 31-year-old daughter and grandmother, she gave them R100 000 each and donated R7 000 to the church.

Seeing that there was no shopping complex in the area, she bought land, where a big complex is now under construction. Next to the complex is a brick company, which is run by her son and employs nine people from the community.

“There is no reason for me to stay in the suburbs because I relate better to people I grew up with. I want to see people happy and living life instead of complaining about it. This is where I belong,” said the former liquor store cleaner.

It was the R5 she got as a tip while working as a cleaner that changed her life.

On March 9 2002, Nkhoma took numbers from an old ticket and played them. She was watching the draw on TV when all of her numbers rolled out from the Lotto machine.

“I threw the ticket away, thinking that I was dreaming. I switched off the lights and tried to sleep, but I did not sleep the whole night.”

“The following morning I called my husband… He too thought I was dreaming.”

Moatshe said: “It really has changed our lives. No one works in the family because everybody has money…”

“But we don’t forget our neighbours and members of the community. This is a poor area and the people must share.”

  • nkha@star.co.za
    • This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on December 10, 2004
  • Now doesn’t that just give you warm fuzzies? Good for her! I only hope I have the good sense to emulate her when I win … :-S

    A new year begins …

    Well, yesterday was my 29th birthday and the beginning of my 30th. It didn’t really feel like my birthday actually. It felt like an ordinary day even though I took the day off as I usually do for my birthdays. I remember from birthdays past that the day brings with it a special feeling where it is as if you are this being of light walking around and everyone senses that something is not quite as it normally is and can’t quite put their fingers on it. And you are the one with the big secret for the day. You are the special one and this is your special day. This year it felt like any Saturday or Sunday where I sometimes have a ‘me’ day and wander around a bookshop or sit and update my journal. That special feeling just wasn’t there.

    It occurred to me that this feeling I was hoping for is a feeling that we could experience not just on our birthday but on all the other days of the year. Is this not a feeling we can experience all the days of our lives? Are we not magnificant beings of light and energy, truly special in our unique way? At the same time we are not special because if all beings are special and maginificant and parts of a greater whole, then no individual stands out as ‘more special’ than any other. We are all special and loved and supported and all we need do is recognise and experience that truth.

    This sayeth the sage for the day …

    The day before …

    It has been raining since I woke up this morning and it is wonderful! Looking out my window I see grey skies and a mist obscuring the tops of the buildings as people make their way around Sandton. There is steam wafting off the buidlings opposite me and the mist is dropping lower as I type this. In all, this is a most welcome sight, coming just days after reported predictions of a hot and dry summer. In fact, when I looked at the weather forecast on my phone this morning, it looks like we will be enjoying rain for the rest of the week!

    In the beginning …

    I paused for a few minutes, debating what to say in my first post in this new blog (my 3rd so far). I glossed over the news and didn’t see anything appealing there and, somehow, a rant just doesn’t feel appropriate right now. Instead I thought I’d just let you know what a beautiful day it is in Johannesburg today. True it is cloudy and the day started off with rain (I hope it continues in the months ahead). It is just that the blue skies have been revealed and the warm sun is shining on the very green trees outside my office … it is all good!

    With that, I give you Wired Gecko …