‘With the kind of job I have, I need to be at church regularly’ – Herman Mashaba

Herman Mashaba is a South African entrepreneur, politician and Mayor of Johannesburg. He's the founder of a widely recognised and established hair product company called ‘Black Like Me’, and is known as a prominent figure due to his life story of breaking the cycle of poverty, establishing an empire under the Apartheid regime, and ultimately overcoming life's challenges.

Mashaba’s enterprise became the biggest hair brand in South Africa, making him a millionaire. The company was launched on Valentine’s Day in 1985 with a R30,000 loan from his friend Walter Dube. Mashaba also wrote his autobiography titled ‘Black Like You’, where he emphasised the value of individual freedom.

Mashaba was brought up in the small village of GaRamotse in Hammanskraal, Gauteng. He found support in the care of his sisters while his absent mother worked as a domestic worker to provide for her family.

I look at my upbringing at the village and literally we had to go steal water, we had to go steal firewood, and later on as we grew up, we’d gamble.

Herman Mashaba, Mayor of Johannesburg

Mashaba says that his mother, who had a job as a domestic worker, would come back from work and unpack some of the stuff she took from her madams pantry. He adds that they needed energy to cook but couldn’t afford to buy coal.

We had to go to the nearest bush on a regular basis, to go get wood which wasn’t allowed says Mashaba. He adds that he has extensively written on his upbringing, and is constantly invited to share the contradictions of his country and his life.

From an early age, Mashaba saw the value of education and realised that he needed it to break the cycle of poverty. He graduated from high school, but didn’t complete his tertiary studies.

Mashaba served as the chairman of the Free Market Foundation (FMF) for 2 years, but stepped down from his position when he joined the Democratic Alliance as an ‘ordinary card-carrying member’.

Mashaba announced in December 2015, that he would accept to stand as the DA’s mayoral candidate for the City of Johannesburg. In 2016, Mashaba was voted in as the Mayor of Johannesburg by the first sitting of council, and he publicly backed Mmusi Maimane in the Democratic Alliance leadership race.

In the 2016 municipal elections, the ANC lost the majority in Johannesburg and only took 44.12% of the votes, whilst the DA took 38.33%. The DA entered conversations with the EFF to form a coalition and although the EFF declined the offer, they agreed to vote for Mashaba as the Mayor for Johannesburg. Mashaba was sworn in as Mayor and made history by being the first non-ANC Johannesburg mayor since 1994.

An important view that Mashaba touched on during the interview was the issue of illegal immigrants. Mashaba says that the matter made its way to the Human Rights Commission. He adds that he’s really pleased that the truth ultimately came out.

I was very clear from day 1 about the illegality of undocumented people.

Herman Mashaba, Mayor of Johannesburg

Mashaba says that Home Affairs costs the country billions, and adds that they (Home Affairs) have the Constitution responsibility to protect the countries borders, and to ensure that everybody who lives in the country is documented. He adds that it’s a serious matter, and he’s here to protect the countries foreign nationals.

Johannesburg can’t be a place that harbours criminals that run away from their own countries.

Herman Mashaba, Mayor of Johannesburg

_[WATCH] Mayor Herman Mashaba in studio chatting to #WeekendBreakfast host Phemelo Motene about illegal immigrants_

Click on the audio below to hear the full interview…


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