Lesedi Mapheto – who owns a printing company – is living proof that resilience and hard work pay off.
Mapheto, 39, grew up in Ga-Mphahlele in Limpopo where he hustled for his education at a young age.
He started taking pictures while he was in high school, to pay for his school fees. Now, years later, the former photojournalist is a force to be reckoned with: he is the owner of multiple companies in the country under his flagship entity,
Lesedi 7 Group.
His company, which he established in 2009, started operating from his house in Bramley, where he had converted his lounge and one bedroom into offices to build on his long-term dream.
Today, Lesedi 7 and seven of its subsidiaries employ more than 90 people, and Mapheto says he still yearns for more, to create employment and to play a pivotal role in growing the country’s economy.
“Things were not easy for me while growing up as I had to make money as a photographer in my area so that I could save for my education.
“I came to Johannesburg to study and I used to walk from Alexandra to Braamfontein and back where I was doing media studies, and this is one of the challenges that made me believe in my dream,” he said.
Mapheto says that it was difficult to build his printing business. It took him seven years before seeing any progress.
His black-owned printing company is a multimillion-rand money-spinner that employs people from across racial groups.
Lesedi 7 was born 20 years ago.
Lesedi means light while seven represents perfection.
“Today, the company has its head office in Lyndhurst, and a big printing warehouse in Benrose, where we do our production and distribution,” he said.
He says that based on his work ethic, and knowing how difficult it was for him growing up, he needed to make a change in people’s lives and create employment for as many people as he could.
“I know how hard it is not to be working and having challenges of providing for your family, hence I took it upon myself that I will make a difference in people’s lives, and also build my legacy for the younger generation coming after me.
“Our company is a force to be reckoned with, and we are making huge strides in the printing and distribution sector through our quality work and high standards.
“Our company is a certified entity of the International Organisation for Standardisation through all the requirements for standardisation and quality assurance for printing businesses,” he said.
Mapheto runs other businesses in energy, property, game farming and plant hire. He is a philanthropist.
His companies pay for students’ education and he donates food to the needy, while also building houses for poor people in Alexandra.
Lesedi 7 clients include BP, Woolworths, Absa, Nedbank, Pick n Pay and Old Mutual.
Mapheto has built cottages and units for his employees to live rent-free close to his business.
Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here