The winner of the R114m PowerBall jackpot is a 35-year-old woman from Soweto.
According to Ithuba, which operates South Africa’s lotteries, the occasional Lottery player said she decided to try her luck when she saw other people queuing to buy tickets.
“On my way from work, I saw a long queue of people with bet slips and I knew they must be pursuing something big, even though I had no idea of what the jackpot prize was. I became curious and searched for some coins in my bag to see if I could also play,” said the winner.
The winner, who manually selected her numbers, spent only R5 on the winning ticket that she bought at Victor and Son’s Café in Roodepoort in western Johannesburg.
Speaking to Ithuba, the winner said she was renting a backroom in Soweto. “Sometimes, I could not always afford rent so my brother would always assist me.”
The blue-collar worker said she had yearned to be fully involved in her children’s everyday life for years.
“My four children have been staying with my mother… and I have never been able to spend as much time with them as I wished since I had to work in Johannesburg,” she said.
“I am most grateful that this money will give me an opportunity to raise my children, to be able to take them to school and have the pleasure of preparing a scrumptious meal that they can enjoy when they get back from school, something that I’ve been wishing for, for a long time.”
The winner received trauma counseling and financial advice, which Ithuba offers to winners of R50 000 and more for free.
“Judging by the amount of time the winner spent with both the psychologist and the financial adviser, we are confident that she will make sound financial decisions that will secure her family’s future for generations to come,” said Busisiwe Msizi, head of corporate relations at Ithuba.
‘This bed is really mine?’
Ithuba treated the winner to a five-star hotel stay in Gauteng.
“The winner was in complete disbelief when she saw her room. She said in IsiZulu: ‘Umbhede wami ngempela lona, omkhulu kangaka!’ (which means: ‘This bed is really mine? As big as it is.’),” said Msizi.
The winner said in addition to buying her own house, she wanted to build her mother a big house to live comfortably. She would also like to buy herself a stylish car but first needed to learn how to drive and obtain her driver’s license as soon as possible.
“I can’t wait to drive past my ex-boyfriend in my new car. He will probably faint when he sees me waving at him. He broke up with me because I was broke and didn’t have a fancy job,” she said jokingly.
She will not return to her job and said her new life had begun.
This PowerBall jackpot had rolled over 19 times before being won. It is the sixth-highest jackpot ever won in the history of the South African National Lottery, the highest being R232m in February 2019.