Dream come true for KZN woman,105, as she gets new home

Durban – Gogo Jabulile Zondi's dream of owning a house again has finally come true. At 105 years old, she's been handed the keys to a brand new house.

Zondi received the home from KwaZulu-Natal Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay on Tuesday.

The centenarian, who hails from Mpumalanga township in Hammersdale, was living in a transit camp after her house collapsed during heavy rains in 2010.

That was not the first time the elderly woman was displaced. According to a Times report, Zondi lost her home during the political violence between the United Democratic Front and the Inkatha Freedom Party in the 1980s.

She was reportedly singled out by the MEC during his budget speech in April as one of the "struggle veterans" that would receive a home.

She was elated to finally have a place she could call home again.

'I have to ask the children when my birthday is'

"We will spend our first night in the house tonight and I am so excited. I don't think I am going to sleep tonight [Tuesday] because I am too excited.

"I think God has kept me alive for this long so that I could see this day. It is truly a dream come true," said Zondi.

In a telephonic interview with News24, Zondi said she was born in uThukela in 1911, five years after the 1906 Bhambatha Rebellion.

"You know I am uneducated so I don't know the date or the month. I have to ask the children when my birthday is," she said.

Zondi said she had never worked in her life but she married and had seven children.

"I married Amos, oh, I cannot remember how old we were when we got married," she said.

She said in the 1980s, she was kicked out of her house after her husband died in Embo.

She went to live with relatives until she found a home for herself and her grandchildren, but her house collapsed during heavy rains and she found herself sharing a room in a transit camp with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


(Pic: The KZN Department of Human Settlements)

Improved quality of life

"Life there was really bad. The house I got now is so big. I will share the house with my grandchildren," the elderly woman beamed, adding that she loved everything about the two-bedroom house.

"There is electricity, water, tiles, a table and chairs."

She said the quality of life was going to improve now that she had a proper home again.

"I am still shocked. This was not supposed to happen to me because I am a nobody. God took me and made me important, I have no words."

When asked what was her secret to a long life, she said, "It's God's grace really, I don't have any secrets," she said.

One of her grandchildren, Zinhle Mchunu, 24, said she loved the house.

"We now have a home," said Mchunu.

ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma in a statement said one of Zondi's sons, who was an ANC political activist, disappeared during KZN's violent conflict and was still unaccounted for.

He said when the ANC Veteran's League hosted a birthday party for Zondi in April it was shocked to find that the elderly woman, who was a year older than the ANC, lived in a transit camp.

The MEC was contacted and he promised to have the house built by June 30, explained Zuma.

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