Safland – Namibia: Driven by a desire to develop

Building one of the country’s most diverse property groups is no mean feat

29 September 2021 | Infrastructure

Kallie van der Merwe, Safland-Namibia CEO - “You have to have desire. You need to have a picture in your mind of where you want to be and make the commitment to get out of bed every morning and take that first step every day, that will lead to something.”

Yochanaan Coetzee

Safland - Namibia Property Group is arguably one of largest and most diversified players in the local property industry. Having been involved in the development of the Grove Mall of Namibia, and a range of large-scale retail and lifestyle projects spanning the length and breadth of the country, one can be certain its leadership does not lack vision, tenacity and drive.

This year is a big milestone for Safland - Namibia Property Group, as they will not only be celebrating their 10th year in Namibia, but also the dual milestones of 30 years in operation, and 30 years in which the founders, Kallie and his wife Mirinda, have been married.

Driven by a dream

“We started off as a property brokerage in South Africa in 1992, and soon evolved in a property development company in the mid-90s,” explained Kallie van der Merwe on a beautiful day at the sprawling and luxurious Droombos Estate, which he and his wife own.

“In 1999, we did our first complete in-house development and we were mostly involved in motoring-related developments, before moving into retail, after which we moved to Namibia, and as Safland Property Group Namibia, we were appointed as the fund-managers for the Frontier Property Trust.

That’s where things got interesting

“We then started developing properties, the first one happened to be the big one, the Grove Mall of Namibia, together with our partners at the time, Demushuwa Property Developers and the Atterbury Property Group.”

At the same time, they were also involved in the development of the Gwashamba Mall in Ondangwa and the Otjiwarongo Town Square.

Around 2014, they formed a company called Safcoll Property Holdings with South African partners and set out with the development of the Rundu Mall, Gobabis Mall, the MegaCentre opposite Grove Mall and then the Steps Development, which is now home to Virgin Active Kleine Kuppe, as well as the Town Lodge Hotel down the road.

“I would say that Safland-Namibia Property Group is probably the most diverse property service company in Namibia, and we take great pride in being able to contribute to the development of country and all the employment and investment opportunities we’ve been able to assist in bringing to various parts of country,” van der Merwe explained.

“The Safland that we see today, is fairly different. There’s still a belief that we only work on our own developments, which is not the case, we have numerous clients across Namibia and our services range across the property development, property management, facility management to name but a few.”

Foundation of excellence

Based on their decades of experience at every level of the property industry, Safland - Namibia is well placed to offer insight and advice to new players wanting to “break into” the property industry.

“I think it’s starts off with the phrase ‘breaking into the market’. There’s no breaking into the market. We started Safland – Namibia Property Group in 2021, and before that point we spent 20 very hard years, having started very small beginnings, and working extremely hard to establish ourselves in the industry.

“There was even a running joke when we first came to Namibia and everyone would say that we became successful very quickly. To which we would always reply, ‘Yes, it took us only 20 years to become an overnight success’,” he said.

“You don’t break into a market, it’s a process, and though many people only see the success, they don’t realise the hard work and determination that it takes to get to a place where you can experience any kind of success,” he stressed.

When asked when and where you start as an entrepreneur, Van der Merwe is very clear on this issue.

“You just start. Immediately! You take your first step, and don’t listen to the nay-sayers, even if it’s your parents or whoever, as they’ve probably grown up in a different time, and out of concern, would encourage you to seek security, whether that’s through education or a fixed long-term career.

“However, in business honesty is paramount, especially being honest with yourself, as entrepreneurship is not for everybody. A lot of people want to own a business because they aren’t happy with their current situation, not understanding that often in business you have to do some things you don’t particularly enjoy.

“You can be a florist and love flowers; unfortunately, you will also have to do financials, human resource management and even tax. An entrepreneur must learn to deal with the inherent challenges of running a business, in the best way possible,” he added.

Desire and determination

When asked what drives him in business, Van der Merwe breaks it down in what he calls a very small, big word: desire.

“You have to have desire. You need to have a picture in your mind of where you want to be and make the commitment to get out of bed every morning and take that first step every day, that will lead to something.”

Not that it was always a given.

“I always had a burning desire to make something of my life, but I had no idea of how to do it or where to start.

“I didn’t leave school with this fantastic vision, nor was I a strong student, but things happen in life and you find yourself on a certain path. While working in tourism, I met someone who was working in property and I liked the idea, so I started out as an estate agent, which didn’t last very long, but I started to move up in the industry and then ventured into development,” he explained.

“If you look at our story today, we’re mainly talking about Safland, but my wife and I always had a dream to enter hospitality and that’s how Droombos came about. Unfortunately, four months into our operations, we were hit with Covid-19, which presented its own challenges. However, even with Droombos now, we are starting to farm with herbs, and we’re as passionate about the herbs as we are with Safland.

“So, even when new challenges arise, they seem to take us to places that we never even considered before,” he added.

“I know, not I think, that the most important thing is to keep walking. Start off in a certain direction and just keep walking.

“I’d even go as far as to say that if you do have to work for somebody, and you do not excel, you are going to find it extremely difficult to excel in your own business. If you strive to be the best employee, you will get recognised and that will set the tone for the rest of your life, and probably even be the stepping stone to becoming a successful entrepreneur, if that’s what you want.”

So now, the young man who wanted to be a journalist has grown to become a leading executive whose desire to make a difference has seen the company he and his wife started 30 years ago become a leader in the local property industry, through their involvement in billions worth of development, and lasting economic spin-offs that have created opportunities for thousands of people across the country to aspire for more.

To learn more about Safland-Namibia Property Group, visit their website at www.safland.com .

Similar News

 

Building Namibia our own way

1 week ago - 24 November 2021 | Infrastructure

Yochanaan Coetzee Namibia’s housing backlog is estimated to be at 300 000 units, with 84 000 of that occurring just in Windhoek. The...

Ongos Connect, Paratus sign smart deal

2 weeks ago - 17 November 2021 | Infrastructure

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKParatus Namibia and Ongos Connect last week signed a commercial connectivity agreement, confirming that Paratus will be the technology / infrastructure partner to bring...

Water interruptions plague northern Namibia

2 weeks ago - 17 November 2021 | Infrastructure

ESTER KAMATIWINDHOEKA water shortage has been reported at villages in the Omusati, Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions, mainly those at the end of the water supply...

Experience the dream at Droombos

1 month - 27 October 2021 | Infrastructure

A flair for the unforgettableWith exquisite cuisine, elegant decor and personalised attention, the Droombos Estate sets a new standard for hospitality in Namibia.Mirinda van der...

Road from Okahandja to Ovitoto tarred

1 month - 13 October 2021 | Infrastructure

ENZO AMUELEWINDHOEKA 41-kilometre stretch of the Ovitoto road was inaugurated last week, completing phase one of the project.It includes more than 30 culverts to accommodate...

Billions needed to develop water sector

3 months ago - 18 August 2021 | Infrastructure

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKA massive N$8.31 billion will be pumped into Namibia's water sector over the next seven years.These funds will be used for - among other...

Witel Namibia adds STM-16 international internet capacity

3 months ago - 13 August 2021 | Infrastructure

Sponsored ContentWitel Service Provider, a tier 1 internet service provider operating in Namibia, has just announced that they have boosted their existing international capacity by...

NHE hands over 131 houses in Okuryangava

4 months ago - 30 July 2021 | Infrastructure

Michelline NawatisesThe National Housing Enterprise (NHE), in collaboration with the City of Windhoek, the ministry of urban and rural development and the Khomas Regional Council,...

Calle urges stronger implementation in water sector

4 months ago - 23 July 2021 | Infrastructure

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKAlthough Namibia’s water policy and legislations rank among the best in the world, the implementation of these policies has been a serious challenge.“That must...

Action required to reach water goal

5 months ago - 06 July 2021 | Infrastructure

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKAfrica needs to put in place strategies for progress to accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which deals with ensuring...

Latest News

Hilia Hitula continues to achieve...

2 days ago - 03 December 2021 | Business

Rivaldo Kavanga Urban planner Hilia Hitula says it has always been a dream to work in the urban planning profession. “Right from matric...

Don’t kick the cat!

2 days ago - 03 December 2021 | Economics

John Steytler Namibia is in an unenviable position as a developing country, its economy is very fragile and it is trying to weather the pandemic....

Sheya slams SPYL for jealousy,...

2 days ago - 03 December 2021 | Politics

KENYA KAMBOWE RUNDUOusted Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary for economic affairs Marius...

Ya Nangoloh’s Swapo membership application...

2 days ago - 03 December 2021 | Politics

KENYA KAMBOWE RUNDU Swapo secretary-general (SG) Sophia Shaningwa this week wanted nothing to do with questions on a membership application...

V5 Digital a forerunner in...

2 days ago - 03 December 2021 | Technology

Iréne-Mari van der WaltMore than three years ago, Armin Wieland founded his business, V5 Digital, after noticing that there was a lack of companies in...

Do it with passion or...

2 days ago - 03 December 2021 | Justice

Desiree Gases Ngeendina Angula, born and raised in Greenwell, Windhoek, moved to Cape Town, South Africa, when she was 13 years old and lived there...

A love for engineering and...

2 days ago - 03 December 2021 | Transport

Wetumwene Shikage Describing her journey at Fly Namibia, Gabriela Kamaahene says the experience has been surreal. She says the company continuously grows and she...

EDITORIAL: Opportunity

2 days ago - 03 December 2021 | Opinion

With new Covid-19 infections doubling almost every day since the start of the week, and South Africa also seeing a surge, it’s difficult not to...

December rains on the way...

2 days ago - 03 December 2021 | Weather

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK The Namibia Meteorological Service forecasts heavy rain for far northern...

Load More