MUCH OF YOUR LIFE IS AN OPEN-BOOK ON SOCIAL MEDIA WHICH MAKES ANY-ONE DRAW AN ASSUMPTION OF WHO YOU ARE. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW MOST ABOUT YOU?
My real name is Thato Mbha but most would refer to me as TT. The abbreviated name is somewhat of a brand I’ve created for myself. I was born and raised in Pimville, Soweto. I’m just an ordinary individual with huge aspirations. I’m all about positivity and success at my core. I love to inspire. There is a term I often use as a form of incitement for those that dare to dream – “Black Child it is Possible”. I find this to be an important mantra. We all must believe more in ourselves.
TELL US A LITTLE ON HOW YOU CAME INTO THE PROPERTY INDUSTRY?
I think it was more of an answer to a passion I have had since I was like sixteen years old. I have always admired great homes and complex buildings.
I am part of a group of companies called Black Brain Group where real estate is a component of our work. The Black Real Estate is my primary focus and I guess it was a natural progression after ten years of successfully doing business as Black Brain.
THERE IS AN UNDERSTANDING THAT THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY IS NOT AS TRANSFORMED AS IT SHOULD BE. HOW DO YOU THINK WE CAN BEGIN TO CHANGE THIS?
I think it is paramount that we begin to establish a lot more black owned business in the real estate environment. I am one of those individuals who intends to give voice to this issue on many platforms. Much of our people do not understand the trading intricacies, legal and regulatory aspects of real estate. We need to make knowledge of this industry available to anyone who might be interested. I am hoping that in my personal capacity, I can create opportunities where myself and other black professionals can share some of our acquired experiences.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO PARTNER WITH A LARGER CORPORATE (KELLER WILLIAMS). AS BLACK BUSINESS, SHOULD WE NOT BE ATTEMPTING BUSINESS ON OUR OWN TERMS?
It was my intention to partner with an established practice upon starting up, for many reasons. I had earmarked a number of companies in my decision so Keller Williams was not the only option. Keller seemed more attractive as a consequence of its accomplishments and growth opportunities. It is a company that believes in empowering small agencies to run some of their portfolio. Keller is also a well-established international brand so the opportunity for Black Real Estate to gain access to a global market place is highly possible and that is key to growth.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCE?
Mr. Moss Mashishi is both a teacher and close confidante. He is an amazing person and an astute businessman who has been mentoring me for the last ten years. He has all the great qualities I would want to contain as a young businessman. I have high regard for him.
ARE THERE METHODS TO BECOMING A SUCCESSFUL?
I think the most important thing to understand is that you are never too old, wise or rich to learn. Learning is a key component of success.
ANY PARTICULAR BUSINESS PLANS YOU MIGHT HAVE THIS YEAR?
One of my biggest plans is to obviously entrench the Black Real Estate Brand into Africa and to understand the business model outside our borders.
BEYOND REAL ESTATE, WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT OBSESSIONS?
I love to give back to my community. I have grown to understand the significance of Ubuntu and part of that understanding is my endeavour into social entrepreneurship. I am actively involved with Leonard Cheshire Disability which provides services to people living with disabilities. I love playing Golf and I’m also using that as a platform to raise funds for various community causes.
Apart from this, I really love clothes. Most people would not know that I am qualified fashion designer. I used to work as a fashion buyer for Edgars in my earlier years. My initial schooling was clothing management.
BEST SINGLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
My mentor once said, “If you can’t write things down, how are you supposed to remember your goals.” The idea of writing down your dreams brings you closer to that vision.
THE ONE DREAM YOU WISH TO ACCOMPLISH?
Two dreams. To feature on the cover of The International Forbes Magazine and to have dinner with Donald Trump.
KASIBIZ MAHALA STAFF WRITER