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Meet the Soweto woman who is making waves by developing property for people living in this township

Nomakhosi Makolota, 42, has already developed 14 studio apartments on property that she purchased in Senoane, Soweto in 2011. Picture: Supplied

Nomakhosi Makolota, 42, has already developed 14 studio apartments on property that she purchased in Senoane, Soweto in 2011. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 26, 2021


Nomakhosi Makolota is an up-and-coming property developer with huge dreams – and the passion and beginner know-how to match.

The 42-year-old investor has already developed 14 studio apartments on property that she purchased in Senoane, Soweto in 2011, and aims to begin phase 2 of this project in the next couple of months.

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So inspiring is her achievement, and her commitment to property development, that the former travel agent has just been crowned the winner of the ‘Beginner Investor’ category of the SAPIN (SA Property Investor Network) 2021 Investor of the Year awards.

​Read the latest Property360 digital magazine below

Makolota grew up in Pimville, Soweto, and although pursued a career in travel and tourism after completing her studies in this field, she says this was not her dream. Rather, she wanted to build a legacy by developing property for people living in the township.

And with the encouragement of her grandmother, she is well on her way to doing just that.

The rental units she has developed – with the aid of TUHF’s uMaStandi finance, is currently giving her a positive cash flow, and she plans to buy and develop more residential properties that provide people with a sense of dignity.

This is her story:

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How old were you when you first decided that you wanted to develop and own property? And what lead to that decision?

I was about 19/20-years old and was studying at a tertiary institution. Growing up in the township and seeing the living conditions of those around me ignited my dream to develop high quality residential rental apartments in the township.

When did you start preparing yourself and your finances to develop and/or buy? And how long did it take you from that day to actually realise your goal?

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I bought three stands in 2011 for R150 000 but struggled to get finance or funding to develop any property on them. I even sold one of the stands with the hope of raising funds to develop properties on the others, but it was not enough. However, my mentor told me about the uMaStandi finance product. I applied for and received funding in 2019.

What was the hardest and/or most unexpected aspect of the property development and purchase process?

The most difficult part was getting finance as investors are often wary of property development in the township as rentals are low compared to the suburbs.

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How would you advise other aspiring developers to navigate these challenges?

They need to do research on funding institutions that relate to their property development plans. For example, uMaStandi is a township property financier.

If you could go back and do it again, is there anything you would do differently? And if so, what, and why?

Yes, I would start the project with a professional team because some service providers take shortcuts and compromise the quality of the work.

What are the pros and cons that you have experienced as a young property developer?

The positives are that I was given training and mentored.

But, as a negative, I learned that people often do not take you seriously, and you have to fight hard to achieve your goal.

What advice would you give to other young aspiring property developers?

Do your research before purchasing a property and work with professionals to build a compliant structure.

Don’t let fear steal your dream.

​​Read the latest Home Improver's digital magazine below