Cape Town – When Bukiwe Joki heard she would be receiving a title deed to her home in Nomzamo, Cape Town, she was so excited she could hardly sleep.
"I was so happy when they called to tell me. I told them I would like to eat cake to celebrate," she told News24 on Monday.
Joki, 64, was one of 100 people who received title deeds to their council-owned rental houses near Strand.
The single mother lives in the house with one of her sons, his wife and their children.
She said she had lived in the house for more than 20 years.
"I got into a car accident in 1986. I was not sure I was going to be able to keep the house. I was always worried they were going to get someone else in [while I was away recovering]."
Joki gave Mayor Patricia de Lille a big hug after being given her title deed.
Ululation and dancing
The crowd ululated and danced, with their papers held high in the air.
Thandiswa Mbele, 27, another recipient, could not believe she was now a property owner.
She had lived on the property with her sisters, 7-year-old child and cousins since 2012.
Asked how long she intended staying in her house, she carefully opened the envelope with the documents and scrutinised the details.
"I was just checking that it really is me on this title deed," she said, smiling shyly. "I am going to live there for a long time."
De Lille said they had processed more than half of the 25 000 title deeds that had been identified for transfer.
Owners of a 'little part of South Africa'
The City signed an agreement with the Free Market Foundation in September to secure the issuing of title deeds through its Khaya Lam programme.
Businessman Christo Wiese sponsored the transfer costs for the Nomzamo title deeds, as well as 200 others in other parts of the country.
He said on Monday that the initiative made it possible for every citizen to be the owner of their "little part of South Africa".
"I hope this initiative will be one of the revolutions that our country needs," Wiese said.
He said the country still had a very long way to go, but that people should not become despondent or hopeless.
The City would assist recipients with drawing up wills.