Praying for a brick house

2019-05-21 06:00
Waiting patiently, Khalib and Mariam Othman are looking forward to their new home. PHOTO: SIPHESIHLE NOTWABAZA

Waiting patiently, Khalib and Mariam Othman are looking forward to their new home. PHOTO: SIPHESIHLE NOTWABAZA

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Days of being a backyard dweller will soon be a thing of the past for Mariam Othman (50) from New Woodlands, when she steps into her new home in the near future.

Othman, born and raised in Grassy Park, is part of the hundreds of backyard dwellers who are in line to benefit from the New Woodlands housing project.

The project will benefit 440 residents from Kosovo Informal settlement and New Woodlands backyard dwellers.

It was launched last month by the outgoing premier Helen Zille and provincial human settlements minister Bonginkosi Madikizela.

Othman moved to Mitchell’s Plain more than 30 years ago and has been renting at different people’s houses; a situation she described as embarrassing, uneasy and costly. She is a single mother of three, but lives with two, pays rent which amounts to more than R1000 and has to support her children financially.

She said she has been on the waiting list for a house for more than five years and when she finally gets this one it will be an answer to her prayers.

“I applied for a house in the N2 Gateway Housing Project in Delft and when I later went to check my status I was surprised to be told my name did not appear on the database,” she revealed.

She added that when city officials came for the sight handover last month, she was on cloud nine even though there has not been an official word to say her application has been officially approved.

For her, getting a house will bring much-needed relief as she has been facing some health challenges.

“I have a small bed in my wendy house and it does not have a window. Also, there is not enough space for me and my two children,” she said.

She suffered a stroke and has arthritis. Her health is not the only area of concern. Her son has a behavioural disorder and she is convinced if she were living in a spacious house it would be easier to manage.

“Getting this house will mean a lot to me, I will have a place I can call home because where I live is not my home,” she expressed.

Her son, Khalib Othman (8) was very excited when he heard the news about his mother being on the list of beneficiaries.

“My mother will have a brick house, I am happy because sometimes when the wind blows we are scared,” Khalib said.

She said that it would really make her day to finally step into a house; something her children would inherit even if something happened to her, because with her condition, one does not know what tomorrow will bring, she said.

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