Powerful Women & Property

Xoliswa Daku
Every year on 9 August we celebrate Women’s Day. We pay homage to the women of our nation and we all celebrate what women are doing be it in their jobs, in politics, in the media, in our education institutions, in our communities and in our homes. “We must acknowledge and applaud the women of South Africa who take a stand, and who continue the fight against all the issues which seek to bring women down, who push against inequality and discrimination, we celebrate these women on this day”, says Tihara Baker, Relationship Manager of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

We commend the brave and fearless who strive every day to build strong family units, and who work to put food on the table. We met some of these dynamic women and gain some insight into their professional and personal lives and their property preferences.

Xoliswa  Daku, CEO  of  Daku  Group
Xoliswa  Daku  is the  CEO  of  Daku  Group  of  Companies  which  focuses on property development, investments and facilities management and she has an outstanding portfolio range that showcases some of her greatest achievements. Her main goal is to turn small towns into cities, having come from the small town of Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape.

What is your outlook on investing in property?
Global challenges are currently making property attractive investments, leading to good returns and investments. A number of trends are there and for me a number of mixed use development trends in cities are a great opportunity. This leads to integrated developments along transport nodes, people want to be close to transport, shopping and work.

Which room in your home is most important and why?
My bedroom where ideas are generated in the middle of the night.

Do you have any interior style tips you can share with us?
Keep it simple and earthy to allow yourself space to relax.

What advice would you give to other women who wish to have a successful business career?
The key thing is hard work does pay off, be involved in the running of your business as you grow it. Forge and build sustainable relationships. Commit to your business and brand, always research and learn about your products/services and lastly never be afraid to ask for help when in need.

Do you have a role model? Who and why?
On a personal level, my grandmother is my inspiration, she had 2 jobs and could not do anything less than that in a day, she was a hard working individual and I watched and learned from her. I tend to have the same adrenaline. At leadership level previous Deputy President Phumizile Mlambo-Ngcuka’s hard work , leadership style, empowerment and lifting of others whilst you climb resonates well with me as I tend to apply the same.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by Places and spaces, I always dream of what could be done to beautify them and that starts my unending thinking and creativity flow/process.

What is the best advice you have ever been given in business and who gave it to you?
Protect your brand by providing a quality service – by a client.

Which two organizations outside your own, do you know the most people at and why?
NHBRC and SENTECH as I am the member of the board.

What is your motto in life? / What is your favourite famous quote?
Never compromise your Brand!

What has been the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Click here to learn more.

Any exciting new future plans on the horizon?
Yes! Setting a Girl Power Leadership Academy, ensuring that there are more women like me in the future!

What are your top three secrets to success?
Direct Involvement in each development, building required resources for the business and creating strong and lasting relationships in the industry!

How would you convince someone to do something they didn’t want to do?
Start with their reasons. I would listen and share my ideas as to why something should be done truthfully and sincerely. It’s all about influence if its work related!

Describe the colour yellow to somebody who is blind
Yellow is about uplifting, hope, fun and happiness.

About Xoliswa Daku
Xoliswa has worked on several projects in King Williamstown, Ngcobo and Mtata to name of few to make her dream attainable.  One of her biggest projects to date that has put her on the map has been the One and Only hotel in Cape Town. Who would have thought a successful career in law could lead to an even more fruitful path in property? Xoliswa certainly did, and it is her wit and charisma that has landed her amongst the biggest projects to date: Khayelitsha Hospital and Mall, Engcobo CBD, Cradock Spa, Intersite Stations and the Koeberg Interchange to name a few.

In her time as a leading female property developer, Xoliswa has shown admirable leadership skills. After leaving a career in law, she became the head of Local and International Investment Trade Promotion for the Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (WESGRO). It was her passion on infrastructure, development  and  investments  that  inspired  her  to  institute  Daku  Group  of Companies 20 years ago based on the needs of investors and opportunities in this sector.
Xoliswa also holds various academic acumens; she holds an Executive MBA from UCT graduate School of Business, LLM Degree from UWC, Advanced and postgraduate diploma in Project Management at Cranefield University to name a few.

Xoliswa is well respected in the industry, she was nominated as a finalist in the Property Sector of 2012’s “Most Influential Women in Business Awards”, identified by CEO magazine attest. In 2013 she has won the “BBQ Outstanding Women in Business  Award”,  for  her  admirable  work  as  a  business  woman.  Xoliswa has strategic goals of entering the international property markets and starting her own CSI project to assist women in business. She has since started a woman empowerment programme as the chairperson of the social transformation committee where they train and mentor 100 women in property and construction through Gibbs to ensure that opportunities are availed to them. Xoliswa is currently working on property development projects in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Durban and Johannesburg. She is playing a big role in sharing her great insights in business in various media platforms to inspire every young child with dreams, that with determination and drive, anything is possible.