Businesswoman steering the course for stokvel investor
A JOHANNESBURG businesswoman who has tasted hard times has reinvented herself in a new venture that allows people to invest together in different sectors.
Thabisile Gumbi, who claims to have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, says she is part of the 68 members of Africa’s Growth Fund, a stokvel aiming to invest in the lucrative student accommodation sector.
Each member of the stokvel contributes R1 300 a month and together they identify different businesses to invest in. The group has already raised R600 000 in ten months.
“Our ultimate goal is to invest in student property. We are also able to assist some of our entrepreneurs with their smallanyana (small) projects, with a focus on townships,” says Gumbi.
Gumbi identifies with the people in the projects she is involved in. She understands their life experiences and their struggles. Gumbi’s story is a kind of riches to rags story.
At some point, Gumbi, who has financial skills, had it all – a comfortable home, cars, private schooling for her kids and a lucrative job with the Financial Services Board.
Yet despite her expertise and knowledge of how to spot business opportunities, Gumbi ran into personal financial difficulties .
In 2014, after a near nervous breakdown, her world came crashing down leaving her with nothing.
As a way of coping with her situation, she started writing about her life, trying to understand where it all went wrong for her.
The result was a book she is currently completing aimed at poking holes at “the system” and its lies about money and investing in the black community.
The book, entitled Money Lies You Have No Business Believing, will be launched next year. It looks at how the system has trained people to be consumers instead of investors.
Nobody will invite you to buy shares that have fallen 50%, Gumbi explains, “but they are quick to advertise products in big, colourful adverts. Property prices also fall all the time but who advertises that?”
Gumbi, who says she is involved in construction, consulting and e-hailing business, Taxify, claims blacks, who are the majority of consumers in the country, should channel their monies into supporting black businesses.
“It’s a lie that an outside force will come and help black people by spending their money on black people’s services,” she says.
One of the biggest lies Gumbi was ever told, she insists, is that she needed to be an employee. She considers that being employed is a form of exploitation deeply rooted in slavery.
Some of the money from the stokvel has been invested in forex, bitcoin, and in other black businesses.
Gumbi was born in a typical middle class family, with a school teacher mother and a father who was an ex-political prisoner working at the KZN legislature.
She speaks glowingly about her late grandfather who owned bottle stores and shops and also invested in minibus taxis and trucks as a sideline.
“I was born into this rich family, but after finishing matric in 1996, I came to Joburg because of a family feud. I worked as a cashier, did housekeeping at hotels, worked at different call centres, and sold food from a container in Tembisa,” she says, adding that she also bought three minibus taxis. “But the better I progressed, the more problems I encountered.”
Gumbi says she started reading books about entrepreneurship and following entrepreneurs on social media to find out how they ran their businesses, and she made contact with successful business people at business conferences.
“I went everywhere the wind took me and I started having mentors, people who are in that multi-millionaire space,” she says.