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Despite the challenges and burdens facing the youth, many are rising – Editor’s letter

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It is heartening that, despite the challenges and burdens facing the youth, many are rising in the property world. Nthabiseng Makgabo’s story alongside – of how she bought her first property before she was 25 – is enlightening and heartwarming.

Nthabiseng’s lineage is full of remarkable women. She told me that long before she started studying property, and long before she got a job as an asset manager, she received a good grounding in bricks and mortar from her two grans and her mom.

Nthabiseng, who is also chair of the SA Institute of Black Property Professionals’ Youth Professionals unit, says she watched one of her grans – the late Salome Makgabo, who lived in a village in Dikebu just outside the North West – build her house by her own sweat and tears.

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“It took her forever to build the house. She would save a little then buy some bricks, then save a little and buy some other material. It was an arduous process. And sometimes the things she had bought got stolen. But she was determined.

“I remember one year she went to get the bricks she had been storing to start building a section and they just crumbled – she had been sold inferior material. But she just picked herself up and started again.”

The family lived in a partially built home for a long time, but “Mama” finally built her new home – many years later – which included an inside toilet, unheard of in the village at the time. After completing grade 1 in the village school, Nthabiseng moved to live with her other gran – Maria “Babes” Mabusela – in a township in Garankuwa.

“When I was younger I preferred the township. We had running water and also there was plumbing so we had toilets. In the village, there was none of that, and I was afraid of the long drops in the village. “… the house was full of my older cousins and in the townships, everyone was within a five-kilometre radius.

However, when I grew up I began to appreciate the land and space of the village, and will one day build one of my homes there.” When her mom, Malebo Makgabo, sold her home Nthabiseng wanted to contribute to her mom’s life and so the pair’s property journey began.

“While my studies taught me the value of land as a physical asset it was my two grans and my mom who showed me what was possible with property if you have determination and a dream.” In the piece alongside. Nthabiseng gives us some great advice on how to navigate the property world from which we – young and old – can all learn.

I hope you’ll be inspired by her journey. Also heartening is the story on how the number of first-time homebuyers is growing and that many are found in the younger cohort. While there is much we still need to do to change our youth’s trajectory, let’s gather some hope from these stories.

Warm regards

Vivian Warby


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