Award winning “Star Agent” Nomsa Nene has been servicing the clientele over 15 years with passion, respect and honesty. Driving through Johannesburg’s Northern Suburbs, you notice billboards advertising Nomsa Nene Properties. This is the irrepressible spirit of Nene.
Early life and Family
The host of the popular Zama Zama game, veteran singer, dancer, actor, puppeteer, presenter, producer, estate agent, and community environmentalist, was born 50 years ago, to an Anglican family in Soweto’s Orlando East. The eldest of 3 children, Nene was raised by a single mom in an extended family household. “Our family was humble, but Soweto life was paradise. It has never and will never lose its sparkle for me. That’s where my family home is, where my heart is.” “My mom was a seamstress, my gran worked as a domestic worker for a Roman Catholic family in Sydenham Johannesburg. Once a month, from a young age, I would catch the first train to work at 4 am with my gran. I would help her polish the silver and set the table for the kids’ breakfast. I remember becoming friendly with Maureen, the girl my age in the house. I loved playing with her white doll and putting on make up with Maureen when she got back from school. She always gave me gifts and I loved getting back home to Soweto and unpacking my treasures. Once she gave me old nail polish. ‘Maureen why do you always give me your old things?,’ I asked” “From then on, whenever she went shopping with her mom she came home with two of everything. It was the first time I questioned inequality and I have fought against all forms of it ever since,” says Nene. Nene’s acting talent came to the fore even earlier. “I started working as an actress when I was 8 months old. My mother tells me I would crawl onto the table and turn round wiggle my backside at grown ups and try to dance. I loved the attention so much that if I was placed back on the floor I would sit immobile and sulk.” Nene knew from six years old when her father took her to film agencies to pose for adverts that one day she would be a professional actress. But, until that time she wanted too earn her own income and her selling activities set in during high school holidays when she worked at Sales House and Foschini stores.
Career in Acting
After matriculating, Nene joined Gibson Kente Productions Theatre Company and became the first lead black actress at the Market Theatre, opening the door to all blacks in theatre. She played Poppie Nongena nationally and off Broadway, New York, winning the first of many acting awards. The Pact Drama Company followed. “Again, I was a trailblazer as the first lead black actress. Before then they would paint white actresses black,” she laughs. At Grahamstown Festivals the inexhaustible Nene played 9 roles in 10 days, rehearsing by day and performing at night. Unstoppable, by her late 20’s Nene had married and divorced twice, commentated for SABC at the Oscar Awards in Los Angeles, was a household name as ‘Phindi’ in the daily soapie, where she brought audiences to tears daily. Later the actress hosted the Zama Zama show, and even did a stint at producing her own TV sex talk show. Just as the curtain was closing on the Zama, Zama, show, Nene found herself in the lift of her Berea apartment building at the same time as the owner of Belaire Estate Agents with his prospective clients. “Why not come and see my flat?” she interrupted. They did just that, and bought her flat. ”You could be the best agent with that kind of chutzpah,” he said. She joined the property company and while training as an agent she worked on the popular morning programme The Toasty Show, waking at 3 am to perform live between 6-8 am.
Career in Property
In 2000 Nene joined WMP Properties fulltime. “For the first year I battled because I didn’t know anyone in those areas,” says Nene. As she became known she sold many apartments and sectional title homes. In 2003 she sold 45 units, winning awards at WMP. She won various awards again in 2004, 2005 and again in 2006. “Eish I love property so much. In my street I grew up wishing I had my own room. I loved the idea of selling houses with separate rooms. Seven of us lived in a 2 room house” she says. Nowadays I live and work in the Northern Suburbs, but I have my own room at the back of our Orlando East family home. That’s where I go every weekend, with the energy, the beat, the soul which is found only in Soweto.