The socio-economic factors that play a part in perpetuating social ills and injustices in South Africa notably have finances as a component. Take communities such as Khayelistha or Deipsloot for example where squatter camps spring up every second, crime runs rife, black men and women remain unemployed and educated, and costs of getting to the city for work are high, this concoction is one that is, for the most part driven by money.
It is in these communities as well where rape and gender-based violence is committed at the most monstrous level. This is by no means saying that gender-based violence does not occur in more affluent communities or in corporate boardrooms, it is as equally prominent there. However, a woman who has a stable paying job with maybe a house of her own, separate from her joint estate with her husband can easily pack up and go, while still having a roof over her head as opposed to an uneducated and unemployed woman living in a two-room home with her abusive husband and knows that if she were to leave, the only option would be to roam the streets of the township where her life there could be in equal danger.
We South African women are facing an incredibly crippling pandemic called gender-based violence, and to win the war, we need both men and women to commit themselves to this fight. However, now more than ever, we as women also need to commit to breaking the age-old stereotype of men being our providers. There’s many ways in which we could do this, but for now, the one way that we could bring to focus is property.
Whether you’ve got dreams of owning your own home one day, being a landlord and owning several properties or trading property stocks on the exchange in the form of REITS, it’s all possible for us to play a role in the property industry and have those assets under our names. A piece of property, no matter how small or big it is will be your asset. And if you’re renting, the extra money you save and invest in REITs will also be your asset.
Let’s first discuss what REITs are. Real estate investment trusts are equity investments in property companies that pay an annual dividend to the investor. The types of property investments that trust invests in are shopping centres, hotels, commercial properties and factories. Property stocks are less volatile than common stocks/equity in companies. Thus, for those ladies that are more risk-averse, REITs are a good consideration. If you’re also not in a position to manage a physical piece of property or can’t afford all the extra costs that come with taking out a mortgage, investments indirectly make you an “owner” of many properties. For our generation that is leaning more towards the renting side, having equity in the form of property shares should be considered.
On the side of physical property, many people discuss the pros and cons of it but essentially, all human beings need a roof over their heads. Many young female professionals find themselves only having their name on a title deed when they get married (if it's in community of property), which we feel is a grave misfortune. To quote Beyoncé, she once said “You must have your own life before you’re someone else’s wife”. The truth in this statement cannot be challenged. Get your title deed and pay off your own home while still living the bachelor life. Too many young women will spend their 20s working and earning a month to month salary, buying fancy clothes and shoes and then by the time they hit 30, no title deed is in sight. Individuals have their own preferences when it comes to renting or buying, but the main point is to have more assets than liabilities under your belt.
If you're working, speak to a financial advisor about how much you would have to save to afford a piece of property you’ve been eyeing and figure out if you qualify for a bond or mortgage. It’s all possible. Having a piece of property is a huge stepping stone to financial independence.
Our government believes that by having an economically empowered female population, we increase economic activity in our country and we curb the heavily chauvinistic personalities of some men who use money as a tool for oppression. Let’s be the generation of ladies who say we are the girls with property and title deeds!
Author: Sthandiwe Msomi