At the age of 16 when his peers were going into white neighbourhoods to look for employment, Herman Mashaba resisted the temptation. In order to protect his dignity, he avoided going into white neighbourhoods to work as a gardner which is something most of his peers did.
When his academic dream was shattered in 1980 due to protests that resulted in the University being closed down, he found a job at Spar earning R175 a month. He was later employed by Motani Industries which he says was his last salaried job.
Today, Herman Mashaba is a self-confessed capitalist and one of South Africa’s renowned entrepreneurs. He is the founder Black Like Me Limited (hair products) and the current Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Leswikeng Minerals and Energy Limited.
Growing up in poverty and during the harsh apartheid landscape and policies in South Africa did not stop him from becoming a millionaire. Mashaba refused to let his impoverished background determine his future.
I had this edge to really be an independent human being and I really needed freedom— Entrepreneur Herman Mashaba
Talking to CapeTalk/702’s Africa Melane (standing in for Redi Tlhabi) Mashaba reflected on the day disaster struck his business, when his factory burnt to the ground yet he told his staff that “we will rise out of the ashes”.
Mashaba did not give up instead he says he learned valuable lessons from the tragedy.
Mashaba has written a book which will be in book stores soon, Capitalist Crusader: Fighting Poverty Through Economic Growth.
Listen to the full conversation below to find out more about one of South Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs, Herman Mashaba:
This article first appeared on 702 : The inspirational journey of Herman Mashaba and Black Like Me