How A Zimbabwean Motivational Speaker Made It In South Africa

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Written by Dana Sanchez

When Godfrey Madanhire moved from Zimbabwe to South Africa in 2000 at age 26 seeking a better life, he thought everything would be easy, he said in an interview on TFGClub.

The teaching post he’d been offered didn’t work out, and Madanhire struggled to find work in South Africa. He was determined not to give up. He had promises to keep that he’d made to his mother.

Madanhire started selling short-term insurance door-to-door with Premier Growth Group. It wasn’t his dream job, he told HowWeMadeItInAfrica, “but I persevered and became successful.”

Within a few years he’d been promoted to manager, and was sent to open a new office in Cape Town. By 2006 he was managing 11 branches. “I had achieved well beyond my wildest dreams and it was exciting,” he said.

Madanhire found that insurance sales involved teaching, advising and helping people see life differently. The desire to make a difference in people’s lives gave him the incentive to start his own business.

“When I was just 10 and growing up in a broken home, I stayed up many nights conjuring comforting and wise words to tell my mother in the morning,” he told HowWeMadeItInAfrica.

Giving up a secure job to start his own business alarmed his friends and family, according to TFGClub. His loved ones didn’t have much confidence in his entrepreneurial pursuit, but he did. “I felt that if I could start something on my own, I could make a difference in the lives of more people,” he said.

Madanhire founded Dreamworld Promotions, and he sells motivational audio discs that he distributes to monthly subscribers. Madanhire also provides inspiration to individuals at events and workshops.

Based in Cape Town, Dreamworld recently established a dedicated sales division. The company now earns about 10 million rand annually ($830,000 USD) with a staff of 50.

Dreamworld was not an overnight success. It was trial and error for this inexperienced entrepreneur who struggled to get funding from banks because he wasn’t a South African citizen. But the work was satisfying.

“I had guys who walked into my office with no shoes on because they couldn’t afford to buy any. You work with them and help to build them and then they become an asset to your business, and they grow, and three years later they are buying their own flat and dressing well – they can even send money home,” he told TFGClub.

For Madanhire, inspiring someone to realize their full potential is gratifying. ‘There’s no way I could’ve achieved all of that if I kept working for someone else,” he said.

Generally, life coaches train clients to reach goals instead of just dreaming about them. And plenty of people need his services, he said..

“Life coaching is big business due to the pressures facing businesses in these hard economic times, and the myriad problems in our society,” he told HowWeMadeItInAfrica. “More business executives are increasingly looking for sources of honest feedback, and spaces where they can be challenged on their thinking and approach.”

Compared with countries like the U.S. and U.K., the speaking industry is lagging in South Africa, he said.

But there are exciting long-term opportunities for his company. He has commission-based agents who are making inroads in Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho. Short-term, he plans to continue expanding in South Africa and enter more Southern African countries and Kenya.

One big challenge for businesses? Staff retention, he said. “I can testify to this. You’ve got to find creative ways of keeping employees. For example, at Dreamworld we help the employees to understand our vision – that it is not just about sales, but making a difference in people’s lives.”