CHANGING THE PROPERTY INDUSTRY
This young entrepreneur is making a contribution to reducing unemployment in SA, writes Luyolo Mkentane
A HIGH school dropout has started a property development company to change the face of Africa and the lucrative construction industry in the country.
Vukile Manzi is the founder and chief financial officer of VukaDarkie Capital Group, a property development firm with operations across South Africa and neighbouring countries.
The former waiter and barman said he started the company after running into challenges in securing a bond for a house he wanted to buy. He says he couldn’t secure a bond as he did not have a credit history – he mostly uses cash to transact.
Manzi, who dropped out of Grade 12 at KwaZulu-Natal’s Mountview Secondary School in Verulam as a result of financial difficulties, says he noticed that he was not the only one experiencing such problems.
He describes himself as an innovative entrepreneur who doesn’t like to complain. “I look at the problem and come up with a solution.”
Manzi says Vuka-Darkie, which he says means “wake up black child”, is different from other property development companies. He says they secure land for their clients, which they develop according to the clients’ specifications.
The company offers packages including a R3 500 monthly repayment on a R378 000 house and repayments of R20 000 on a house valued at R1.9 million.
Manzi says the repayment period is nine years compared to the industry standard of 20 years.
“Most people are paying up to three times more for their bonded houses. I’m here to change that.”
Manzi says his product offering has been widely received inside and outside the country.
“Right now we are developing properties in KwaZulu-Natal, a student accommodation to house 1 000 students in Limpopo and a boarding school in the Eastern Cape,” says Manzi.
Besides running Vuka-Darkie, the 25-year-old is also the head of TV network streamer ZMTN which has more than 300 channels across Africa, and Zillianair Air Technologies, which manufactures cellphones, tablets and laptops.
“We are also running projects in Cape Town, Namibia and Botswana,” he says. “Systems are also in place for the development of 100 houses for a corporate client in Johannesburg in January 2019.”
He says the company employs 50 people and a further 300 posts need to be filled. “This is our way of addressing the unemployment crisis in the country. But what is sad is that you issue 300 posts and you get over 1 000 CVs,” he adds.
Manzi, who is also board chairperson of African Child Industries, a diversified company with interests in media, events managements, automotive and hospitality industries, and architecture, says he didn’t enter the industry by chance.
He says his love for the property industry started when he worked for Fountain Civil Engineering after he left school in 2012.
He says that he started off as a site clerk before moving to the HR department. He was then promoted to the finance department where he had the opportunity to handle a project worth R170 million. When he resigned in 2013 he landed a job as a waiter and later a barman at ATasca, a Portuguese restaurant in Durban. He left in 2015.
He says his plan is to embark on a property development crusade in Africa. “I want to build houses for the people of Africa because most property developers choose to focus on big projects such as building malls rather than building houses for the upper and middle-income classes.
“It’s no secret that the African property development market is ripe with opportunities and I want to be part of that development.”
He says he wants to strengthen the company footprint in the continent before venturing to the rest of the world.
“This is because in the next five to 10 years we want to play with the big property boys in England, Europe and America.”
VUKILE Manzi is the founder and chief financial officer of the Vuka-Darkie Capital Group.