Fortious Nhambura Features Writer
This may yet be another case of rags to riches story, featuring this man from Shawasha Flats in Mbare, one of those notoriously dirty, overcrowded and ill abodes of Harare. But hold on — Mlangeni is not going to abandon his push cart for a glorious set of wheels, and is contemplating selling the car to buy a house instead.
“I will not leave my work but will ensure that the car becomes my stepping stone to a new better life. I hope to buy a house of my own from the proceeds of the sale of this vehicle,” he said.
“I am a certified driver but I will not drive this machine. I will surely put it on sale at the shortest possible time. I feel I will not be able to manage such a huge car.
“My main wish is to have my own home. Somewhere to call my own! You see, this is a family flat and thus a family possession. I now have my two children and I want my own place.
“I have no intention of driving the car but to sell it and buy a house anywhere, depending on the amount I will realise from the sale,” he says.
Mlangeni beat hundreds of thousands of punters in the country but he still can’t believe that he is the luckiest of them.
Even the latest adverts and announcements in the media carrying his name have failed to excite him, as he swoons between dream and reality.
He awaits the big day when he will be officially handed over the car.
“That is probably when I will come to terms with this news. Everyday I meet someone who congratulates me for winning the car and it seems like a dream. I never anticipated that one day I would win the OK jackpot. Yes, I have tried my luck in the OK Grand Challenge before but it was just trying my luck.”
Sitting in their one room single quarter flat in Mbare, Obren and his wife Miriam Muterere are visibly happy. They exchange smiles and shake they heads. The nods are simultaneous, a sign of disbelief that they are the grand draw winners for OK Grand Challenge 2014.
The two clearly share the joy of winners. Like many a poor man home, the house has a bed and a wall unit that has small television and radio sets.
Among the furniture is a small wooden bench and a stool. Obren actually had to sit on a sack of maize to give us, his visitors, somewhere to sit.
Like last year’s winner, Timothy Nyanzira, Obren only deposited the winning entry on the day of the draw.
He never expected to emerge a winner and had only gone to Borrowdale racecourse to while up time with friends after a week of tough work.
“I want to thank God for this wonderful gift. When you look at me, do I even deserve this gift? No, I still can’t believe it. Could it be real that Obren is the owner of that brand new red Ford Ranger Double cab? I will praise God more for the wonderful gift,” he said.
Obren and Miriam have two children, Anesu and Anisha. He says he has no big dream but to take care of his little family and brothers.
“I once worked as a bus conductor but left some years ago. I now am a tout and load some kombis. Once those kombis are loaded, I then ferry people’s goods using a pushcart to supplement my earnings. That is my job and I cherish it because it pays my bills,” says Obren jokingly.
Saturday was turning out to be just another day. Obren says he was getting tired and decided to go and relieve himself after all the other prices had been won.
“I had left my friends for the toilet when the name was called out. When I returned a friend told me that my name has been called out. I was the winner! I thought he was mocking me but he insisted and pushed me to go and claim my prize. I could not believe it.
“It was then that the announcer’s voice rang again, that ‘Obren Mlangeni of Shawasha we are giving you three minutes to get to the podium’. I froze but the people around me lifted me and threw me towards the podium. Begrudgingly, I complied and took to the podium. I was only convinced that it could be me when I was asked to show my identification particulars and handed the keys.
“I still could not believe it when I sat on the driver seat with keys in my hand. I told myself, ‘This is my car, let me feel it’, as I sat behind the steering wheel. I visualized a changing life. Indeed, it is a case of rags to riches. From being a mere pushcart driver to be owner of a magnificent Ford Ranger double cab, God hears our silent prayers,” he said.
Obren said he never imagined that the draw was operated transparently. He was convinced that it was a game for the rich and not touts.
“I now bear testimony that anyone can be a winner. I used to see the OK Grand Challenge as a game for the rich. Imagine being picked from 13 million Zimbabweans. This is a fair game and people should not hesitate to enter the challenge. Surely June 7 has been the greatest day of my life.
“I rarely put on my only suit. Maybe God had told me that it was my great day. Even my friends were teasing, asking whether I was going for some marriage formalities. ”
His wife Miriam says she was alone in the house watching a live transmission of events at the OK Grand Challenge on national TV.
“The draw was nearing the end and when the camera zoomed on the red car I said to myself, “Whoever would win that car is blessed. It never crossed my mind that it could our property.”
“I remember the announcer saying this car is not going to Mutare, not to Gweru, not Bulawayo but to Harare, Mbare. I said Mbare again, someone has already won. I never imagined that it could be coming to our home.
“The announcer continued, ‘it is going to Shawasha flats Block 1 B9.’ I leapt into the air. I could not contain my joy. I clasped my hands, clapped, danced and praised God. I congratulated myself but waited for the winner to appear on the screen,” she said.
First to appear on the screen was his brother but the announcer said the surname was the same but name was different.
“Another guy took to the podium and was again dismissed. I said to myself where is he, has he left the venue after depositing the winning entry? Suddenly, he appeared and the names were verified. Alone I danced and thanked heaven behind the closed doors.
“A few minutes later someone from a floor above came to congratulate me. I could not believe it and it’s only now this is beginning to sink. I will only be fully convinced when we get the car,” she said with a broad smile.
She said her wish was to have a home.
Her wish is to buy a family home, most preferably in Dzivarasekwa Extension.
But the man of the house wishes that the home be in Mbare.
“I wish to buy a house in Mbare. A house in Mbare is like an open cheque because the rentals are high. With a room going for about $80 you surely can’t go wrong. My family will not have cash flow problems.
“I intend to invest part of the money in a kombi so the money continues to generate some income for the family,” he said.
Obren said they are still to decide where to buy a house but what is agreed is that they need a house.
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