Born in 1959, Herman Mashaba’s academic dream was shattered in 1980 in his second year of a B.A. at the University of The North when the University was shut down due to political unrests. When the University was reopened after two months, he decided not to go back. Strong promises to send him out of the country for military training. In late 1980, Mashaba found himself a clerical job with Spar Pretoria where he worked for 7 months. He then worked 23 months for Motani Industries, which became his longest and last salaried job. During his spell at Motani, managed to buy a car, and two months later resigned and started his business career. Mashaba sold different products on a commission basis from the boot of his car for close to two years, ranging from insurance, fire detection systems, linen, crockery, dinner services, etc. His break came late 1983 when he was exposed and sold hair products on a commission basis for one of the companies in Johannesburg. It took him 19 months to make up his mind to start his own hair care manufacturing business.
In February 1985 the first bottle of ‘Black Like Me’ products hit the South African market. Business started with three other partners and his wife with a R30 000 loan, in 200sm SBDC units in Ga-Rankuwa, in the then homeland of Bophuthatswana. He now runs his own investment company, Lephatsi Investments (Pty) Ltd with investments in various sectors of the South African economy; real estate, financial services, insurance brokerage, bullet proof materials, private security, fuel distribution, global cleaning services, facilities management and construction aggregates. Herman has recently launched his autobiography, Black Like You, which is already attracting a lot of media and public interest. On 12 March 2013, Herman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration by Central University of Technology, Free State.