A business-minded 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, 25, is the founder and chief financial officer of Vuka-Darkie Capital Group, a property development firm based in Johannesburg but with operations spanning across South Africa and neighbouring countries.

The former waiter and barman says he started the company after running into challenges in securing a bond for a house he wanted to buy. 

Manzi, who dropped out of Grade 12 at KwaZulu-Natal’s Mountview Secondary School in Verulam due to finances, says he noticed that he was not the only one experiencing such problems.

He describes himself as an innovative entrepreneur who does not like complaining much. “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 because of their product offering.

Infographic by TYI

He says they secure land for their clients, which they develop according to the clients’ specifications.

Manzi says on a daily basis the company receives more than 500 emails from prospective clients inquiring about their services. “This means we are on to something. The work is piling up,” says Manzi.

The company is also providing employment for job seeking South Africans. “The company employs 50 people and that they have a further 300 posts to be filled “This is our way of addressing the unemployment crisis in the country. But what is sad is that you issue out 300 posts and you get over 1000 CVs.”

Manzi, who is also board chairperson of African Child Industries, a diversified company with interests in media, events management, automotive and hospitality industries, and architecture, says he did not enter the industry by chance.

He worked for construction company Fountain Civil Engineering when after leaving high school, and started off as a site clerk before moving to the HR department and then later the finance department. 

The passionate businessman is looking to better Africa through his company, “I want to build houses for the people of Africa because most property developers choose to focus on big projects such as building malls than building houses for the upper and middle-income classes.”

Manzi also wants to grow the company to have a solid footprint across the African continent before going international.

“This is because in the next five to 10 years we want to play with the big property boys in England, Europe and America.”