DStv PremiershipFootball Bible

Luyolo Slatsha: The midfield maestro with an eye for real estate 

By day, Luyolo Slatsha is just like any other footballer plying his trade in South Africa’s top-flight league. He eats and lives the game of football.  

Since his promotion from the development ranks at Cape Town City FC, Slatsha has earned praise for his football intelligence, his uncanny sense of anticipation on the field, an ability which has given him a reputation for sniffing out danger before it threatens to harm his team. 

“If I have to make a tackle, then I have already made a mistake,” legendary Italian defender Paolo Maldini is reputed to have once said. 

When one watches Luyolo Slatsha glide on the pitch to obliterate a potentially dangerous situation before it becomes hazardous, one cannot help but think Maldini had players like him when he made his famous claim. 

He is the watcher who lurks in the City engine room, mostly unseen until the moment of danger, mopping up loose balls before they enter more harmful territory. 

But that ability, that keen sense of awareness, is honed on the training ground, where the 21-year-old spends most of his days with teammates and coaches. Training for a professional side is a taxing, brutal endeavour. In fact, it is so gruelling that Slatsha compares it to a daily match day. 

“The intensity was much less when I was in DDC,” he tells FARPost. “Although we train a limited amount of time in the senior team, you have a ‘match day’ every day. It is very demanding on the body. You need to dedicate a decent amount of time. It takes many more hours to recover.” 

Luyolo Slatsha is a footballer-cum-entrepreneur
Luyolo Slatsha transforms into a different person during his off-time


This, of course, is Slatsha’s day job, his bread and butter. In his off time, however, Slatsha transforms into a different person entirely. 

When he discards the tracksuits and boots, Slatsha transforms into one of South Africa’s budding young real estate entrepreneurs. It is an odd combination of jobs, demanding a transformation that would make even a superhero in a Marvel Comic strip green with envy. Unlike the fictional characters in those colourful stories, Slatsha does not wear a mask or a cape. He is, after all, just an ambitious young footballer who saw his passion for real estate sparked by his loving parents at a very young age. 

“My passion for property started with my mom. She got me a book called Why the Rich Are Getting Richer. Towards Grade 11, I realised my time in school was running out and I picked the book. It showed me that there’s an alternative to the mainstream of the journey of life: going through school. 

“I couldn’t go the tertiary route because of my sporting background. So I thought, is this something I want to do? I got curious about financial literacy. I wanted to secure my life after retirement,” the soft-spoken star explains.


In an era where football stars of yesteryear seem to be regular guests on random episodes of Mzansi Magic’s I Blew it, a player who plans for his retirement even before his career has even taken flight properly feels like a breath of fresh air. It is a display of foresight off the field off play that very often South Africans have been accused of lacking, leading to their poor decision-making even on it.

It is the kind of responsibility and kindness towards oneself that one can learn from equally kind and loving parents or guardians. 

“Luyolo was very outspoken and confident,” Slatsha’s mother Xola Slatsha recalls. “He did his online property courses. I was the one doing that initially. However, I couldn’t keep up because I was working shifts and had other side hustles. I bought a book, Why The Rich Are Getting Richer by Robert Kiyosaki. 

Why the rich are getting richer
The book that changed Luyolo Slatsha’s perception of life

“I asked the guy who was mentoring me to transfer the R5000 I had paid to my son. The mentorship programme would teach us how to buy property. He was more into student accommodation and not rentals. Luyolo chose the student accommodation route,” she tells FARPost

Xola’s faith in her son was not misplaced. Slatsha speaks with such clarity on property that one cannot question his knowledge of real estate. This is a man who knows what he is talking about, with that knowledge supplemented by an uncanny eye that enables him to spot the right kind of investment. It is the kind of know-how that has allowed him to lay the initial blocks of what may, in time, blossom into a fully-fledged empire. 


“The business is in KZN, where I have student accommodation,” Slatsha says. “In Durban, you could get much more for less. It’s older properties and older sellers. My analysis of the market shows that Durban and Bloemfontein are the easiest places to get into the market. It made much more sense to go look in Durban, which is the province I’m operating in.”

For Xola, Luyolo Slatsha’s commitment and passion towards property is unsurprising, as he took to it like a duck to water even from an early age. 

“When we were looking for a house with his late dad, we’d go with him to viewings. He would ask difficult questions. For him, the guttering outside must be a certain way. 

“Quite interesting, whenever we gave him a bank card, we’d see notifications of payments being made at Exclusive Books or CNA. He reads all these books,” she says. 

However, for Slatsha, before there was property, there was football. It is the one passion in life that he did not need his parents or a book to point him towards. The son of a pugilist who quit boxing before turning professional so he could concentrate on his studies, Slatsha was blessed with an athletic body that made him jack of all trades in his young days. As he tried to master disciplines that included rugby, athletics and cricket, his parents were next to him, encouraging him all the way. 

“He was good at rugby, cricket, soccer, and athletics. Every weekend, we had to attend all these sporting codes. We asked him to choose one, and he said I’d choose my soccer,” Xola says. 


His former coach, Fortune Ndlovu, remembers two distinct things about a young Slatsha. The first is how his father used to attend most of his matches and the second is the youngster’s ability to dribble, which saw him cutting through defences at will at a tender age. 

Luyolo Slatsha during his time at Table View FC
Slatsha [bottom right] during his time at Table View FC

“I met Luyolo when he was in Grade 5 or 6,” the Table View FC coach says. “I was coaching one school, and he would dribble everyone. He was playing Under 12 at Table View, and I was coaching the Under 17s.”  

Due to the love that Slatsha’s parents had for their son, Fortune did not find it easy to pry him from their loving hands and get him to levels where he thought he deserved to be. While different clubs showed interest, it was Ajax Cape Town who eventually won the battle to secure the precocious young talent. 

“He almost signed for Black Leopards. Chief Thidiela came to Cape Town and saw him play. Chief was like, ‘I’ve got to have him’. We took the boy to Ajax instead.” 

Luyolo Slatsha’s father passed away before his son made his professional debut. It was a cruel blow for both father and son, as it meant that Slatsha’s old man missed the exhilarating last steps of a journey they had taken together. In his moment of grief, Slatsha even wanted to quit the game he and his old man had enjoyed and bonded over together.  

“He was going to quit,” recalls Fortune. “I told him his father would not have wanted him to quit. He had to do it for his dad. If he played 30 games, his dad would watch all of them.”


Xola concurs with Fortune that the moment her son got the letter confirming his promotion to the first team was bittersweet. He realised that the one man that he wanted to savour the moment with his mentor and friend, was no longer there. 

“When he got his letter confirming his promotion, he came to me and said I’ve got the letter but the person I wanted to share this with is not here anymore. He spoke to the coach [Fortune], and the coach asked him if he loved football and knew his dad was his biggest supporter. He reminded him that his dad wouldn’t have wanted him to quit because of his passing,” she says.

Slatsha remembers breaking down into tears after his debut. It was by all accounts, an emotional occasion, as he faced Kaizer Chiefs under tough circumstances. When he stepped on the field that day at FNB Stadium, his father, the man who had always stood by him, would not be in the stands to cheer and urge him on.

Slatsha has always enjoyed the support of his family
Slatsha has always enjoyed the support of his family

As the current PSL season heads towards the home stretch, Slatsha’s stocks have risen, as his ability on and off the ball has endeared him to the City faithful. Fortune, the man who believed in him from the beginning, says he has come a long way from the young kid who used to delight in dribbling through the field. Nowadays, he is calmer on the ball but still, as calculative, qualities that make Fortune liken him to Mzansi’s best current midfielders. 

“He’s got Teboho Mokoena traits and Bongani Zungu’s. He sees spaces that no one sees. He conducts the orchestra. He’s a very good chess player by the way,” Fortune says.


A central defensive midfielder in modern football is supposed to act as a lighthouse in the field of play, protecting and directing their teammates through their actions on and off the ball. It is a role that Slatsha has accepted and embraced, one that he believes will eventually take him to the top. 

“My dream is to eventually move to Europe or outside the borders of South Africa. Europe, MLS or, worst-case, North Africa,” he says.

Life in the PSL has its pitfalls on and off the field. While back in the day, players only had to worry about boos and whistles from the stands, nowadays trolls and naysayers reside on the comment section of sports pages, throwing vitriol towards players with reckless abandon. 

Due to the harsh criticism that he has seen fellow professionals sometimes succumb to, Slatsha says he has had to deactivate his social media accounts. On the surface, it seems to be yet another wise decision by a young man who never seems to put a foot wrong.  

“I just wanted to keep the main thing the main thing. So I decided to deactivate my social media accounts,” he says.

Luyolo Slatsha

For now, as his career takes full flight, Slatsha continues to juggle his two passions – football and real estate. It is a task that he believes is not beyond him. 

“You want to strike a balance and dedicate a decent amount of time to other facets of your life. I don’t struggle at all. It’s like a passion; it fuels me.” In his first full season in the senior team, he has made 14 appearances in the DStv Premiership.

For his mother, who has watched as his son flourishes as both a professional football star and a player on the real estate scene, only the sky is the limit for her ‘Pariri’. 

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