Passion can drive someone to pursue a route that only dare devils can take. While some courses in education can lead you to places you never expected or can turn out to be a fruitless venture.
The later is what happened to Mwenda Thuranira, the 38-year-old Mombasa-based Real Estate master and the CEO and Founder of Myspace Properties.
Thuranira attended a well known High School in Meru and Country wide, Burieruri and latter went to Utalii college where he studied Travel Operations and was lucky to work for AirFrance but he was latter rendered jobless as the company passenger terminal in Nairobi was closed.
Nevertheless, Thuranira hard work and determination opened another door for him. His love for Music and basketball fulfilled his dream of going to America.
“I went there to study Piloting at Dallas University in Texas, but by the second year I was already bored by that course but i acquired a private piloting license. As I schooled, I worked as a casual laborer, I could carry stones and work like “mtu wa mkono” in construction sites. But this was an eye opener for me,” narratedThuranira.
While still working as a casual laborer, his curiosity for houses became more and more, that he could spend more time at the construction sites admiring the architecture.
Today, when you mention real estate, the name of Thuranira will pop up among the list Kenyans who have curved a niche for themselves in the sector.
Thuranira did not study anything related to real estate development but as a pilot and he has never practiced piloting in his life. He is a millionaire developer who abandoned his career to pursue a strange route to his success.
Born and raised in Gikumene, Meru county, Thuranira saw an opportunity in the sector while in Texas and decided to give it a try despite having no relevant experience.
However, when the 2008 financial crisis hit US real estate business, his venture came crumbling down and this forced him to seek employment. However, this did not go on for long as he decided to come back to Kenya.
He chose to set up his real estate company in Mombasa. Since then, he has helped grow the real estate industry at the Coast and his company has become a house hold name. He is offering hundreds of job opportunities to young Kenyans through the real estate value chain.
“My first building work and my passion for building houses came way back while I was just 14 years old when I earned sh 100 after renovating a neighbor’s rabbit cage,” he said.
“I was never afraid of asking those “higher than me” questions about real estate. I can term my self as a nagging fellow as the bosses later gave in and I became a student cum laborer to them and I can attest that I leant a lot,” he said.
He said he realized that piloting was not his career after “wasting time” on it and went back to do a six month course financing.
Thuranira worked for several companies back in Texas and it is while on employment that he realized that the middle class people were making a lot of money and he could tap it.
It is this realization that gave him a challenge that made him to unleashed his first project.
“I walked into a bank and asked for a loan of 20,000 dollars and used all that money to buy a house in Dallas and I renovated it for 8,000 dollars and latter sold it for 40,000 dollars and I got confidence,” said Thuranira.
He went back to the bank paid back his loan and took a bigger loan and that is how Royal Group of Companies was started in Texas.
Over the years, the black man in America at the age of 23 became a master developer and was making a lot of money from the work of his dream.
“I reached a place where we could buy ranches and transform them into big real estate houses though it was not easy to convince an old couple to sell their ranches to us hence we could help buy them houses in other places more exciting areas and the strategy worked,” he explained.
“However, challenges follow everyone who is willing to get somewhere in life and being a black person was the biggest challenge that i faced, some white people never trust a black person which made me stronger. I have a saying that “never lose hope”. I developed a strategy and my employees who were white could go to the white, sell my ideas only for the client to realize that the same good proposal belonged to the same black man they had chased away,” he said.
While working in the US, Thuranira was investing in land buying back in Kenya.
“The financial crisis in US brought down fall of Royal Group of companies, we lost a lot of money and it was very devastating, but home is the best, here I am seven years latter,” said Thuranira.
“I carried a research for six months, I hired agents to show me properties in Mombasa and understand challenges that made it difficult for developers to start real estate ventures, before I was satisfied that I could do business in the area,” he explained.
He said he realized that many people were shunning to put up real estate venture in Mombasa due to misconceived believes and poor marketing skills.
“I created unique magazine that could sell in East Africa and show people what Mombasa offers and this has sold our products even outside Africa,” he said.
Thuranira explains that Real estate development is all about strategy.
Mombasa is an area where most of the land is not surveyed but I never allow myself to buy land or a building at a place that is not surveyed,” he said.
“I love my work so much that if it wasn’t for the fact that I am a family man I would be doing it for free” said the smiling father of two.
His advise to young investors is “investing is about risk but take risk when you know you are strategically positioned to gain, don’t run for opportunities because others are”.