“When I went on the show, my wife was eight months along. I don’t think you can ever be prepared for your first child – you don’t know what to expect – but, the game-show money really helped.
I’ve never felt so nervous in my life, not even on my wedding day. My knees felt weak, like my legs were going to give up. But when you’re on a big stage, that’s what happens. That nervousness faded a little as the filming went on. It completely disappeared when I won R50 000 for myself. At that point, I was completely overwhelmed. I think my expression said it all. It was the first time I had won something of that magnitude.
With my daughter on the way, I think I’ve used my money wisely. My wife and I have decorated her room; we’ve bought wallpaper, new cupboards, a crib, a rocking chair, and even cloud-shaped lights – everything we think we’d need for a nursery.
I’ve also started making arrangements for her education, and I hope I’ve invested well. Tertiary’s very expensive, we’ve got to think of the future. Your Next Million helped me do this.”
“That day, I was so nervous. Even before we started, I thought, I want to get this over and done with. Whoever wins, wins.
I happened to be the fastest contestant to press the buzzer. That meant I got the first chance to answer the question that would take me to the wheel. It was a true or false question, something about Standard Bank’s Instant Money. I answered correctly and I felt overjoyed; I was already a winner! If you spin the wheel, you’re a winner no matter what – you’ll get out with something.
Getting ready to spin, my heart felt like it was going to beat through my chest. Before filming, I thought that if I spun the wheel as hard as I could, I would get a bigger number – that if it spun three or four times, it would bring me luck. I think I did that well, but I was so nervous, I couldn’t watch it stop. I only knew how much I won when the host said, 500 000. At that moment, the audience erupted – they screamed, they were so excited for me. But I couldn’t face them, because I couldn’t hold back my tears. All along I thought, there’s five of us here, but only one can be the winner. I couldn’t believe that I was the winner, that I had won so much money. I’m going to share it with my mom.
I’m free now, financially free. I’ve paid off my debts much sooner than I ever thought I could. I’ve also bought a car like I always wanted. I paid for it in cash.”
“The whole experience was so surreal, it was incredible. Some people thought I would be disappointed with the amount I won; the wheel looked like it was going to stop at 200 000, but went to 50 000. But that’s R50 000 I never had! I was so excited. I think things worked out the way they were meant to.
I’ve actually started my own little business, Zebra Shark Adventures. It’s already registered. I’ve been in corporate for a while now, but the environment and wildlife are my passion. They always have been. Before I won, I was a marine guard, an environmental educator in other words, part-time on weekends and before and after work. Now, I’ll be taking people on snorkel adventures, rocky-shore trips, birding – all things like that. Right now, I’m based in Durban, but I want to work all over KZN and maybe even other parts of the country. I’ll see where it goes.
I used the money for all the gear I need: snorkels, masks – all that. I also had to register with the Department of Tourism and print business cards. All that adds up, but being on the game show made it possible to follow this dream much sooner than I ever thought.
I’m super excited to see where all this goes. There are so many opportunities and I’m ready for all of them.”
“I was so excited when I won R70 000. Everything was overwhelming at that stage. I felt like I went into the ‘the zone’, like I blanked out for a few seconds. I’m over the moon now!
My husband didn’t believe me when I called him after the show. I said, ‘I won!’ but he thought I was joking. I was in the season’s final, though, so I got to keep the cheque. I showed it to him when I got home. He was so happy. My whole family is still so excited!
We’re using the money to go on a 12-night cruise in December. The ship’s going to Mauritius and Reunion Island. We’ve been on a cruise before when my two children were little, but I think Mauritius is the ultimate. I really wanted to do this for my family after we stayed at home last year over the holidays. It’s a New Year’s cruise, too, so we’ll be on the island to see in 2019. We really can’t wait.
My prize money covered everything perfectly: two rooms, four to five meals a day, entertainment, and even some spending money. My kids talk about it every day. They’re writing exams right now, so they just want the year to be over. We’re all looking forward to spoiling ourselves.
Definitely, we would not be counting down the days to this dream holiday if it wasn’t for the show. To save towards something like it would take years, but we’ll be setting off from Durban Harbour in just a few months. This is amazing for us.”