Herbert Theledi at the opening of the Bambanani Mall in Diepsloot
Pic: herberttheledi.co.za
Herbert Theledi at the opening of the Bambanani Mall in Diepsloot Pic: herberttheledi.co.za

Herbert Theledi – A successful entrepreneur putting his qualities into practice

By Partnered Content Time of article published Jun 9, 2020

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Being an entrepreneur can be a challenging but satisfying career. Herbert Theledi has become a successful entrepreneur by putting his qualities into practice

Basically, an entrepreneur is a person who seizes an opportunity of starting a new business venture and accepts the risks pertaining to it.

There are clearly different opinions about the qualities needed to be a successful entrepreneur. The types of qualities required range straddle a variety of human traits from passion to persistence, and many more. 

Herbert Theledi is an entrepreneur who has over 20 years experience in the real estate industry.  He obtained a BCom Degree in Accounting and Economics from the University of the North. 

When considering Herbert Theledi’s career as a successful entrepreneur, he is unquestionably endowed with a variety of qualities, which he practices. 
The aim of this article is not to focus on all those traits which have made Herbert an outstanding entrepreneur but on those that spring to mind when looking back over his almost thirty years in business.

Since Herbert started his career as an entrepreneur, he has been passionate about what he is doing. Pic: Supplied


Passion is the first and foremost trait of successful entrepreneurs. They are successful because they love what they do. Passion, the intense enthusiasm for something, is the main source of an entrepreneur’s motivation.

Since Herbert started his career as an entrepreneur, he is passionate about what he is doing. He was motivated to move from shopkeeper into construction and property after a few years.

Equipped with tireless enthusiasm he seized opportunities as an investor and property developer and eventually founded a company, Nthwese Developments, in 1994 to share and pursue his passion with others. Nthwese, with Herbert as managing director since foundation, is a property and management company with a wide-ranging portfolio.

Entrepreneurs who become successful have a passion for positive change and are aware that they also have to make a difference in society and communities. They are motivated by their inclination to improve circumstances at a broader level. Herbert’s passion for positive change is evident in a statement on the website of Nthwese, of which he is the managing director: “We are passionate about building shopping centres in rural areas and outlying towns as we believe this is key to helping improve basic infrastructure and helping communities gain access to critical services and facilities such as banks, postal offices, groceries, etc.” 

Herbert’s passion has sustained him through many years in the challenging and exhausting world of property development.


John Maxwell, an author on leadership, once made the following remark: “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” 
Maxwell’s remark fits Herbert perfectly. With his inextinguishable passion as a driving force, he is always looking toward the future, knowing what he wants to achieve and what opportunities are needed to put his dreams into practice.

Examples of Herbert’s quality of vision:

  • At a young age, he said that “the future of African people is in business”.
  • As a successful property developer, he has spoken often about the future role of black property ownership in the country’s economy:
  • “Property ownership is one of the best ways of radically transforming the ownership patterns of our economy and the property sector should be playing a leading role in radically transforming the South African economy.”
  • Herbert’s focus on the upliftment of rural and under serviced communities runs like a golden thread through his career as an entrepreneur.


The ability to take risks at the opportune moment is an essential quality of a successful entrepreneur. 

Herbert seized such a moment when in 1993 he bought many properties from emigrating residents, made improvements to the properties, and sold them.

To a certain extent, all new construction projects undertaken, have the element of risk. Nevertheless, Herbert was never discouraged by this fact. Under his management, Nthwese undertook and successfully completed various projects, of which the Bambanani Shopping Centre in Diepsloot, and the Thulamahashe Mall in Bushbuckridge are excellent examples.

(Bambanani was an R250 million project accomplished in partnership with Sampada Private Equity, and Thulamahashe a project of R240 million with Twin City Development as a partner.)

Not afraid to make mistakes

While in the Lowveld and being successful in the property market, Herbert started a trucking business, transporting goods between Mpumalanga and Gauteng. Although this undertaking was a failure, this is proof that as a successful entrepreneur, Herbert is not afraid of making mistakes.

As an entrepreneur through and through, he saw this setback as an opportunity to learn and improve.   


Empathy is the ability to sense other people’s emotions and to be able to understand and share their feelings.

Outstanding entrepreneurs possess the quality of empathy, and it is no exception with Herbert. He understands the needs and challenges of people in rural communities. Therefore, he and Nthwese are known for their principle of finding a balance between making profits and serving and uplifting neglected and under served communities.

Herbert’s concern for others is what makes him different from most other entrepreneurs, who are only in for the money.

By building malls and shopping centres in such communities, they succeed to alleviate some of the burdens of these largely neglected communities.

Strong people skills

Top-notch entrepreneurs recognize that success is built on how well they deal with people. They know how to motivate other people and see business as a “team sport”.

Nthwese Developments is an excellent example of Herbert Theledi’s people skills. Since 1994 he has, together with other like-minded and talented people, built a successful property company. The result is a business with an impressive portfolio, comprising of inter alia, retail malls and office as well as residential buildings.


Also called the “iron quality of character”, persistence is the courage to carry on, despite failures, disappointment and adversary. It is a basic and essential quality of a successful entrepreneur.

Without persistence, Herbert Theledi would not have survived for so many years in the challenging construction and property industries, achieve his goals and, transform his dreams into reality.

Follow Herbert Theledi on LinkedIn

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