There’s a revised saying that goes: “When one door shuts, build another for yourself!” and that’s precisely what real estate agent Jacqui Setoaba has done.

“There are few real estate agents of colour in South Africa. Having gone through the process of buying a home a few times, I was challenged by the lack of representation. I wanted to see people that looked like me also rendering the service.”

Jacqui soon walked the talk and established a 100% black women owned business to bridge the gap. As described on the website:

Jacqui Setoaba Real Estate aims to change the status quo in the largely untransformed real estate industry in South Africa. So, in partnering with us, you benefit from a partnership with a level 1 B-BBEE accredited business and would be investing in the growth of associated small businesses, with the potential to create much needed jobs in our country.”

With a firm foundation in marketing, Jacqui is building the business to the sky.

“It has been operating for just over two years now under the Keller Williams Realty (KW), the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count. KW’s mission is to build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, lives worth living and legacies worth leaving. This motivated me to start Jacqui Setoaba Real Estate, which works in partnership with the broader business, and independently supports non-profit organisations.”

Unlike the houses they sell, Jacqui says women in the industry aren’t always safe and secure.

“As entrepreneurs, women in real estate are vulnerable in terms of personal safety (considering most viewings are after hours and at night), so they need to take extra precautions when meeting clients alone. They are also vulnerable to unwelcome advances by male clients. I’ve shared my calendar with some colleagues and family members, so people know where I am and when they can expect to hear from me next if they are unable to accompany me.”

Sharing her sentiments on Women’s Month, Jacqui says it’s about celebrating women’s achievements.

“It’s about [that] and the important role that women have played and continue to play in South African society. We can be proud of our achievements and can do more to work together and inspire each other to unlock our strength and motivate each other to make a bigger difference in our families, our communities and our country. This is what I strive to do outside the month too. I’d like to see women more appreciated for the value they bring to the table.”

Born and bred in Polokwane in Limpopo, Jacqui was nominated as one of News24’s 100 Young Mandelas in 2018 for her philanthropic work.

“I’m a mother of two, an agent-for-change, and live in Cape Town with my family. I studied at CPUT and graduated in PR, with a postgraduate from Vega School of Brand Leadership. I made the shift to real estate a couple of years ago and continuously upskill myself in the industry. I also serve on the board of three NGOs – Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (NOAH), Resilient Kids and ChangeMakers Hub.”

Through NOAH, Jacqui brings: ‘Home, Health and Happiness to hundreds of social pensioners in the Western Cape.’

“My association with them creates an opportunity for my clients to be change makers too. By donating property, funds, shares or ceded proceeds from their estate through a bequest, they can help leave a lasting legacy.”

Jacqui also throws in her two cents on unemployment.

“Technology and innovation will continue to disrupt our industries, so the opportunities exist for entrepreneurs to come up with new solutions for client needs in real estate and other spaces. Entrepreneurial innovation can fuel economic growth. I’ve found a space to do that within the KW model, which is a more affordable way of starting a real estate business without buying a franchise as offered by the more traditional agencies.”

She concludes with words of encouragement.

“We are stronger than we sometimes allow ourselves to believe. Don’t allow fear to root itself in your mind and hold you back from realising your dreams. Nelson Mandela once said: ‘There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.’ Dream big and trust the Lord will equip you with everything you need for your life’s journey.”


Tell us: Have you ever thought of starting your own business in response to unemployment?