Leading broadcast journalist and media entrepreneur Peace Hyde sits down with Herman Mashaba this week to discuss his remarkable journey from a street hustler to a leading business mogul and the current Mayor of the City of Johannesburg.
He is the founder of the hair products company Black Like Me. He is famous in South Africa for his life story, one of growing up and struggling against poverty and the Apartheid government to open his own hair business, which became the biggest hair brand in South Africa, making him a multi millionaire.
He shares his incredible journey building a business during Apartheid with Forbes Africa correspondent Peace Hyde on the new hit Forbes Africa TV show, My Worst Day with Peace Hyde.
“I had to figure out – is this the end of my business career? And I refused”, Says Mashaba
In the riveting interview he describes how he had to let a white man be the face of his business to avoid being shut down by authorities.
“There has never been a time more scary than crossing the barrier during those days with police. You needed to have a license to allow you to travel from one part of town to the other and the police will arrest you if you were doing business as a black man without a license”, Says Mashaba.
He grew up in the slumps of Johannesburg making his living early on in life by engaging in criminal activities. His mother had to fend for him and his siblings by working as a maid to the privileged white people of the time and brought home some household products, which the family used.
From overcoming poverty, Mashaba managed to build a reputable business, which gave employment to thousands of people all in his community. And then disaster struck.
“By the time I got there I realized this is not an accidental fire. Whoever thought they would destroy us has made a terrible mistake”, Says Mashaba.
His business was burnt to ashes by what he believes was foul play by people who were jealous and did not want him to succeed. Today, Mashaba is in charge of the affairs of Johannesburg. He looks back on the events that transpired in those days as one of the most difficult days for him as a young entrepreneur but he believes overcoming that challenge has made him the man he is today.