Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: Black Like You – Herman Mashaba

Herman Mashaba’s story is a well written anecdote about a man who wanted to be more and worked hard to make his dreams a reality!

Coming from a small village in Gauteng, born in the time when being black was a crime – Herman Mashaba defied the odds, set his own goals and worked hard to reach them.

Do you have faith in your dreams? Do you have faith in your capabilities? How far will you go to reach the standard of success you've set for yourself?

Those were the burning questions I walked away with after reading Herman Mashaba’s autobiography Black Like You, co-written with Isabella Morris.

Pic sourced from: http://blacklikeyou.co.za/
He is one of South Africa’s inspirational success stories. If there is someone who could have used any excuse under the sun to avoid working hard and settle for a life of mediocrity, Herman Mashaba is that man.

He lost his father when he was very young, his mother struggled to raise him and his siblings on her domestic-worker salary. He dropped out of Varsity, and once his company was up and running; his factory burnt down. And those are just a few of the examples. Don’t forget that he was a black man during apartheid.

This book tells a story of not only a man who overcame the struggles but one who had to find the discipline in himself to reach the success-standard he had set for himself.

He went through his phases of being an ungovernable teenager, a false-status hungry young man and a play-boy. But upon realising that he needed to find focus, he chose to leave that life, get married young and go against all odds to reach his dreams. With a supportive partner and out of this world dreams he made things happen.

Herman Mashaba speaks candidly about the challenges he faced, in his business and personal life. Are your dreams so crazy you’d buy a car, knowing that you’ve never driven one in your life, EVER! I think car dealerships started asking for driver’s licences because of the craziness that Mashaba displayed. He saved for a car and taught himself how to drive from the dealership to his home. You can just imagine what a disaster that must have been.

He got into the hair business by first selling hair products for a company, and when he realised the amount of money he was making for that company – he sought to make all that money for himself.  

He has since moved into other ventures. He knows when to let go and also to move with the times. Known for boldly stating he is a capitalist, once you've read this book you fully understand why.

Lessons:
·         Know your strengths and milk them for all you got!
·         Don’t be scared of partnerships – the strengths of others will help you on your journey
·         Know your market and give them what they need
·         You will have challenges – be prepared to get up
·         Surround yourself with strong and supportive people
·         Don’t QUIT!

Take Home Quotes:
“While certain things were beyond my control while I was growing up, there were areas where I could take control – and I did”

“I realised early on that a smile managed to creep into the hardest of hearts, while a grumble or a frown rewarded you with rejection”

“…I had no intention of allowing anyone to strip me of my dignity. Working for a white man meant having to call him Bass, and to call his son Kleinbaas. I had no intention of calling anyone baas”


“…by marrying Connie, I hoped that my life would calm down and that I would no longer be caught up in such a fast, unstable lifestyle”

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