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My Fellow South Africans: Donna Stevens

My Fellow South Africans: Donna Stevens is an estate agent and business owner. Photograph: Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

My Fellow South Africans: Donna Stevens is an estate agent and business owner. Photograph: Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 10, 2022

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“It wasn’t about what I wanted to be; the only thing I wanted was to find a job.”

Those are the words of Muizenberg business owner and estate agent Donna Stevens.

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Stevens, 66, is married with four children, and she and her husband, Mark Stevens, own a successful property business.

Growing up in Bridgetown, Cape Town, Stevens was introduced as a “runner” on the lines of the rag trade by a neighbour. After a while, a manager recognised she had more to offer and promoted her to work in the office.

“I think it turned out way beyond… I had no expectations, so I think it turned out perfectly,” she said.

“When I look back on my life, I come from the humblest beginnings. I was the youngest of four children. My father left when I was four years old. My mother was a domestic worker. The reality is that it is God. He had his purpose for my life,” Stevens said.

“To my 15-year-old self, I would say: ‘Education is important. Pursue it at all costs because it opens one’s mind to the possibilities of what one could become’.”

To the question of what she thought was interesting about her that not many people would know, the witty estate agent was at a loss for words. She paused and said: “Not many people know that I have a very good memory.”

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Stevens did not feel there was anything different or peculiar about her culture but was of the opinion that “we are all just a melting pot of South Africans where all the different influences (of other cultures) had an influence over my life”.

Her least favourite thing about South Africa is the impact that crime has had on the quality of her family’s lives.

“When I grew up in the township, we were certainly poor, but we had far more freedom. We didn't live in this fear.

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“More recently, though, with the onset of Covid, I have really come to appreciate my own country. Because we were not able to travel outside of the country, we did a lot of local travelling and it has made me realise just how incredibly beautiful our country is.”

* My Fellow South Africans is an editorial campaign powered by IOL which aims to build a more inclusive society by introducing South Africans to one another.

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