Xolisa Tini

Xoliswa Tini is forging her own path in real estate. (Graphic: John McCann)

Xoliswa Tini is forging her own path in real estate. (Graphic: John McCann)

It was a search for property that put Xoliswa Tini on her journey to becoming not only something of a estate agent powerhouse, but also transforming the sector.

“I was looking for a property for myself in 2000, when I realised that there was not one black estate agent taking me around to view properties. I asked myself why there were no black people coming into this industry. I was passionate about property, so I decided to embark on this career,” she says.

After a three-year stint working for “a prominent estate agent, to learn the ropes”, she founded Xoliswa Tini Properties. “From there, I’ve never stopped,” she laughs.

“The person I was looking up to was Pam Golding, a woman who started her own business and people started following her. And she started it long before I was born,” she adds.

But Tini is not only following in the footsteps of very successful women — she is doggedly intent on forging her own path.

“All the franchises [in this sector] are male-led and male-dominated,” she says, adding that her business is also “the only black estate agency that has franchises”.

With its base originally in East London, the brand now has franchises in Midrand, Pretoria, four in the Eastern Cape and one more coming up in Mthatha.

True to her desire to transform the sector, the franchises are mostly women-led, with only one being led by a male.

After establishing this women-led brand roll-out, Tini opened the Xoliswa Tini Training Academy. The academy trains and offers accredited qualifications to agents. “We are the only estate agent to have a training academy,” she says with an unassuming but justified pride.

Graduating from the University of Cape Town with a degree in educational psychology, Tini worked as an educational psychologist for 10 years before realising “I needed more than sitting behind a desk”.

“I needed to empower, I needed to interact. I am more passionate about people and creating things that are not yet created,” she says.

“We train our agents and put them in a position of leadership. Most of our admin staff are also women. We now have more than 70 agents — about 80% of them women — operating under our brand.

All of them came to us with no experience. They were groomed within our organisation and are now very competent at putting bread on the table for their families. And this makes me feel really good. Because that is my vision ム to empower women. That’s my dream. That’s my goal.”

Carl Collison

Carl Collison

Carl Collison is the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian. He has contributed to a range of local and international publications, covering social justice issues as well as art and is committed to defending and advancing the human rights of the LGBTI community in Southern Africa. Read more from Carl Collison

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