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Herman Mashaba (anglicized from Tsonga spelling Maxaba) is a South African entrepreneur, politician and currently the Mayor of Johannesburg. He is the founder of the hair products company Black Like Me[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] He is famous in South Africa for his life story:[9][10] 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 millionaire.[11][12][13] He publicly backed Mmusi Maimane in the Democratic Alliance leadership race.[14][15] He also wrote the book Black Like You which is his autobiography.[16] Philosophically, he is a libertarian and "capitalist crusader" whose highest value is "individual freedom."[17]

Herman Mashaba

Consul General Christopher Rowan with Mayor Mashaba and former D.C. Mayor Athony Williams (2).jpg
Mashaba in 2017
3rd Mayor of Johannesburg
Assumed office
22 August 2016
Preceded byParks Tau
Personal details
Born (1959-08-26) 26 August 1959 (age 60)
Hammanskraal, Transvaal, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
Political partyDemocratic Alliance
Spouse(s)Connie Mashaba
Alma materUniversity of Pretoria (BCompt)

On 22 August 2016, Mashaba was elected Mayor of Johannesburg by the first sitting of the city council following countrywide local government elections.[18] He announced his resignation on 21 October 2019.[19]

Early life and careerEdit

Mashaba was brought up in near-poverty in GaRamotse in Hammanskraal, Gauteng, by his sisters while his absent domestic-worker mother worked to provide for the family.

His older brother dropped out of school at 15, going from one unsubstantial job to another. Mashaba realised that acquiring an education would be crucial for him to break out of the cycle of poverty. He graduated from high school but did not complete his tertiary education.

From a young age, he was a strategic thinker - he bought a car without having a license and drove out of the dealership without ever having learned to drive. He drove himself from one selling job to another, in the process confirming for himself that he was a natural salesman with an unswerving instinct for business. He started selling "SuperKurl" African hair-care products and became their number-one earner. He soon realised that these products excited him and that he wasn't content to be just an employee. [20]

His company, "Black Like Me", was launched on Valentine’s Day in 1985 with a R30,000 loan from his friend, businessman Walter Dube.[21]

Mashaba is also a music lover. After five years of secret lessons, he revealed himself as a pianist.[22]


From 2012 until May 2014, Mashaba served as chairman of the Free Market Foundation (FMF).[23] He stepped down from his position when he joined the Democratic Alliance as an "ordinary card-carrying member", citing the need for the Foundation to remain politically impartial.[24]

Mashaba announced in December 2015 that he would accept a nomination to stand as a Democratic Alliance mayoral candidate for the City of Johannesburg in the 2016 local government elections. The other possible DA candidate was Rabelani Dagada.[25]

Mayor of JohannesburgEdit

In the municipal election on 3 August 2016, the ruling party, The African National Congress, lost their majority in Johannesburg, taking only 44.12% of the vote with the Democratic alliance taking 38.33%.[26] The Democratic Alliance entered into conversations with the Economic Freedom Fighters to form a coalition. Whilst the EFF declined the offer, they agreed that they would vote for Mashaba as the Mayor of Johannesburg, despite misgivings.[27]

On 22 August 2016, Mashaba was sworn in as a Johannesburg City Councillor. Later that day, he was sworn in as the Mayor of Johannesburg, the first non-ANC Johannesburg mayor since 1994. On 21 October 2019, he announced his resignation as mayor because of differences he has with DA party leadership.[28] His resignation will take effect from 27 November 2019.[29]


Mashaba has characterised the ANC's post-Apartheid labour laws as "draconian".[23]

He led a Constitutional Court challenge by the FMF, arguing that Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act is unconstitutional.[23] The FMF argued that the bargaining council process reduces competition, as smaller businesses may not be able to afford the higher wages agreed on between larger businesses and unions, contributing further to South Africa's unemployment rate.[30]


  1. ^ Wanneburg, Gershwin. "Can Black Like Me millionaire Mashaba be ordinary DA member?". Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  2. ^ "Where will the rainbow end?". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  3. ^ "Stocks". Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  4. ^ "Herman Mashaba on BEE, Labour laws and the state of education". 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  5. ^ "Business divided over industrialists scheme | IOL Business Report". Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  6. ^ Rand Daily Mail article mentioning Herman Mashaba.
  7. ^ Mbindwane, Bongani. "Unregulated wages: the curse of the disposable worker | Daily Maverick". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  8. ^ "Why I`m joining the DA - Herman Mashaba - PARTY | Politicsweb". Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  9. ^ "South African Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs | Fin24". Fin24. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  10. ^ Madondo, Bongani. "Capitalists like me: It's time to speak truth to power". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  11. ^ Nicolson, Greg. "Herman Mashaba: Scrap the Licensing of Business Bill and limit bargaining councils | Daily Maverick". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  12. ^ "Jobs at risk if government bans labour brokers: Herman Mashaba – chairman, Free Market Foundation". Moneyweb. 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  13. ^ Sowetan article about Herman Mashaba's take on South African labour law.
  14. ^ "Herman Mashaba backs Maimane". DailySun. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  15. ^ Business Day magazine article about Herman Mashaba's support for the new DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
  16. ^ Financial Times article about Mashaba and his autobiography.
  17. ^ "Libertarian Herman Mashaba elected mayor of Johannesburg". Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  18. ^ "LIVE: Mayor Mashaba - Corruption is public enemy number 1". News24. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  19. ^ Feketha, Siviwe (21 October 2019). "Herman Mashaba: Why I am resigning from the DA". IOL. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  20. ^ (Reference: Book titled "South Africa's Greatest Entrepreneurs", compiled by Moky Makura, article written by Isabella Morris)
  21. ^ "Story of Black Like Me, and the man behind it | The Star". Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  22. ^ "On the streets with Herman Mashaba". CityPress. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  23. ^ a b c Ziady, Hanna (2016-02-05). "ANC policies keeping black people poor, says Herman Mashaba". Moneyweb. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  24. ^ "FMF chairman steps down to join the DA". Moneyweb. 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  25. ^ "Herman Mashaba announced as DA's Joburg mayoral candidate". News24. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "EFF will vote for Mashaba, says Malema". News24. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  28. ^ Manyathela, Clement. "Victory for DA as Herman Mashaba is elected Mayor of Johannesburg".
  29. ^ "Mashaba resigns as Johannesburg mayor following Zille's return". The Citizen. 21 October 2019. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  30. ^ Radebe, Kentse (2013-03-05). "Collusion in labour legislation decision-making". Moneyweb. Retrieved 2017-05-11.

External linksEdit