Thursday, May 30, 2024

Highlights, Profiles

Leatile Seemule: Architect and Property Developer


Tell me about yourself, line of work, education, and career?
I am an artist who has innovated his craft to architecture, property and recently added construction to the portfolio. An architect by profession, I have also expanded my knowledge through pursuing several other certifications in the real estate industry including a postgraduate in property development and management, a UCT property entrepreneurship program and currently Green Building Council South Africa (candidate)and Certified Property Manager USA (candidate). My passion lies in drawing and solving complex issues in society, and the built environment. After completing my master’s in architecture and gaining work experience in various countries I founded ati + the studio, a multidisciplinary firm that is positioning itself as a real estate hub.

What inspired you and, to be an architect?
Drawing and art were always an area of passion for me growing up, so my mother identified this gifting in me and inspired me to make a career out of it. Since coming into the trade, I have designed more than 50 buildings: from offices, apartment blocks, urban design schemes and developments. Once I felt that I had the adequate experience I decided to go out on my own and thus left my job and started my own firm. I also saw the need to provide affordable housing for people in Africa, because having a clean and safe place to sleep brings a lot of peace of mind, so this is one area of speciality that is close to my heart.

Every journey has its share of challenges; what were yours?
Yes, at times I felt like giving up. I sometimes struggled with doubt and fear of the unknown when trying out new projects however I always remind myself that unless I try,
I will never know if I can. Another challenge was balancing studies and a full-time job that had its own fair share of challenges including access to study leave. This meant I often had to burn the midnight oil and work thought weekends to meet assignment deadlines. Through it all, I persevered and graduated with my property degree at Wits University. Lastly, it was not always easy to get support from some people, as is usually the case when the vision is still young many tend to brush you off and only appear once they see the vision fully manifested.

What is the big picture i.e., where to from here?
Well, currently my partners and I are working to establish our firm in South Africa but with a focus on other African countries. Currently, we have several proposals we are pursuing in southern Africa and surrounding countries. The vision is to grow ati + the studio, architects & property development consultants into a pan-African premium firm offering an assortment of services that are not limited to the real estate sector. We intend to grow strategically with our partners and continue to be innovative in our line of work, and currently trying to innovate through our subsidiary called AfriProperty Capital & Co. to grow in the online real estate commerce space.

What word of advice would you give to others?
Follow your passion and do not be afraid to do something new. And if others cannot join you, just move and you will find other people with similar interests where you go. Always innovate and be willing to learn from others, be it from a street vendor or industry leaders. It’s not only the highly educated and wealthy people that you can learn from. Be open minded and remember life is not a competition. Run your own race.


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