Sunday, 23 May 2010

Window Into South Africa: Frankie Bell

Frankie We’re nearing the end of our Window Into South Africa interviews and this week we stay in Johannesburg to meet the wonderful Frankie Bell.  Frankie owns a highly successful realty franchise called Frankie Bell’s Real Estate (Pty) Ltd and we’re in for a real treat this week as Frankie agreed to provide us with photographs of some of the amazing houses in Johannesburg. Make sure you take a look at the photos at the end of the interview! 
Frankie Bell's Real Estate   

What is the name of your business?
Frankie Bell’s Real Estate

Whereabouts in South Africa are you?
Benmore, Sandton.  (011) 781 5247

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I am a gregarious person with a love of life and an entrepreneurial flair. I have taken on many challenges in life, started six businesses all of which are still in operation and before that clawed my way to the top, as a women in a generally mans’ corporate world. I was married and divorced, which at the time thought it was a terrible position to find myself in, however it made me realise my career aspirations, and I was able to raise my three children by myself all of whom are now grown up and are successful in business and happily married.  I love my two daughters in laws and my son in law; I couldn’t have chosen better myself.  When my children were all finished varsity and working, I decided to find my own Knight in shining armour too; luckily I did and have been married for six years.  I have also inherited four of the greatest children that I absolutely love to bits and now can brag that I have four married children, two grand children, two working unmarried’s and one finishing varsity.  We are a hectically large happy family with three little one’s on the way, from my side of the family.  Each of my daughter in laws are pregnant, plus my daughter and are all due within two months of each other. How lucky is that!

And your business?
My background is logistics, but lucky for me I was given a great opportunity by another South African Realtor, who I had been working for but had decided to close up his operation and gave me his entire book of clients to look after on his behalf. I had been in Real Estate for approximately six years and really loved what I was doing. I thought it would a nice pass time and way to make financial ends meet. However, that was not the case, it took off like a rocket, with me hanging on to the purse strings and I have never been so busy and happy in work in my life. I have a staff of sixteen wonderfully competent agents and five administration staff. We all get on like a house on fire and we all have each other interests at heart. This, I must add is hugely unusual as the industry is mainly made up of women and is a very cut throat environment. We initially started in rentals and through market demand have had to open up a selling division, which even if I say so myself, has achieved four sales in the last two months. I must also say that we have made great strides in the corporate market, with 96% of our business being corporations. We have also tripled our turnover during this World Cup period mainly due to the support of our Media Corporate Clients. Not to brag but will anyway, we have a great reputation for having the best properties, the best Agents, integrity in all our dealings, by going the extra mile, being as professional as we can be, with fast turnaround times. Our Logo for Rentals “We Let them faster than we get them” and on Sales “No one Sells like Frankie Bells’”. So how’s that for a success story

The Big question: Are you a rugby, cricket or football fan
Well I don’t know much about Rugby, Cricket or Football but with so much hype about the World Cup I am totally enthralled by the excitement, the expected masses and the fact that South Africa has been chosen to host this hugely important event, which makes us all feel very patriotic.

Which team will you be supporting?
I am obviously supporting South Africa, with a sneaky suspicion that Brazil will take the Cup.

Which is the nearest football stadium to your home?
Ellis Park is the closest stadium to my home and business.

Will you be attending any games?
Thanks to my wonderful clients my husband and I will be attending the finals, which happens to be the 11th July, my husband’s birthday.

How would you describe South Africa to someone who has never been there before?
South Africa is an emerging economy which has finally been recognised as such, aspiring to be a first world thriving economy, in a rainbow nation, which offers equality to all.

What would you say is the single best thing about South Africa?
The single best thing about South Africa is our climate.

Are you near to any historical places or places of interest?
We are situated close to so many of South Africa’s historical places of interest such as “The Cradle of Humankind”.

What is the number one attraction that tourists must visit in South Africa?

The number one attraction is our vast unique countryside and wildlife population.

Where in South Africa do you go on holiday?

South Africa is so rich in wild life and beauty, my December holiday is always at the sea, my midyear holiday is mainly at our timeshare in the mountainous regions of Mpumalanga where the Kruger National Park is situated.

Do you have any advice for tourists and visitors?

If I was a tour guide I would suggest the following, take a four week minimum stay.  Visit “The Drakensberg Mountains” where you can ski, the warm waters of Natal for swimming, the cosmopolitan life of Gauteng and the best of all, the fairest Cape a feast of beauty, life and activity.

What can South Africans do to make the country a better place?

Create job opportunity through love and endurance.

What is your dream or vision for the future of your city and country?

I dream of a future country of equal opportunity for all, jobs in abundance, peace and love amongst our rainbow nation.

What is your favourite South African charity?

My favourite South African charity is my church, Bryanston Bible Church.


One of the major reasons expats have given in the past for moving from places like England to South Africa was the very high standard of living.  It is true that our houses and plots are so much bigger in South Africa and that swimming pools and large gardens are not out of the question.  However, that is nothing compared to how some people live and Frankie has kindly provided some of the following photographs for us of Johannesburg homes.

Photo 01

This is the full sized version of Frankie’s photo above.  What fun it must be to see such amazing houses!  Let Frankie take you through a guided tour…

Photo 02

This is a photo of a stunning apartment block in the very cosmopolitan and trendy suburb of Melrose in Johannesburg. This type of property is becoming more typical of an ever changing South Africa.

Photo 03

What a cosy African Thatched house in the heart of Johannesburg! Thatched roofs are quite common in South Africa, they always make you feel a part of the land and its incredible beauty.

Photo 04

This is a modern townhouse. Townhouses are double storey homes with adjoining walls within secure boundary walls. This picture is of a very cute little home in one of the newer areas of bustling Johannesburg.

Photo 05

Cluster complexes are becoming more a more common in Johannesburg. Clusters are groups of very similar houses with a secure boundary wall with impressive security. This cluster offer a safe lock-up-and-go executive lifestyle.

Photo 06

This gorgeous Cape Dutch home is almost misplaced in vibrant Johannesburg. Cape Dutch homes are more common in the beautiful mountains, farms and coastlines of the Western Cape Province of South Africa.


The Window Into South Africa series is intended to end next weekend just in time for the start of the World Cup. But I’d certainly continue if anyone else was interested in taking part.  If you would like to take part and you currently reside in South Africa, please could you send your answers straight through to missus.emm@gmail.com.  The interview is in three parts: about you, the questions and your “Window Into South Africa”.  The last part is usually for photos or videos so that people can learn more about you and see South Africa through your eyes. 

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7 comments

  1. You can't let it end, I, for one, am addicted.

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  2. Thanks Emm, for this informative post :)
    Africa always fascinates me!
    Hope you have a great week ahead!
    B xx

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  3. I never realized how diverse the landscapes are in South Africa. The properties alone are incredible. I would love to learn more about travel here, when I have the time and money of course.

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  4. What an awesome read, Emm! South Africa is totally on my bucket list. I will be watching the FIFA next month amd rooting for Czechs, Americans, Italians and South Africans :)

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  5. Emm, very interesting and some great photos of the houses. Love the thatched one. What a great country RSA is.

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  6. @ DeeTeeCat: But all good things must come to an end!

    @ Betty: Yes! I love thatch too.

    @ Lauren: yes, it is certainly a diverse country! There are mountains, valleys, deserts, savannahs, subtropical areas and on and on!

    @ Ivanhoe: So glad it is on your list! I will be rooting for South Africa as they are not very, um, good and need all the help they can get!

    @ Mike: It is indeed wonderful!

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