MASERU — Extolling the virtues of good nutrition is at the heart of Dr Mphaka Joane Sankoela Mphaka’s drive as a Herbalife Independent Distributor.
The Bloemfontein-based Mphaka told the Lesotho Times in an interview this week that a balanced diet and good nutrition are key to a quality and productive life.
Mphaka also spoke of his unique type of business — a nutrition business that is not based on competition but on learning and growing together.
He explained this was a business where groups of people can sit around the table to empower one another.
They also plan together on how to run their clubs or operations, which they can do from home and strangely — without any of them feeling the urge to compete to be the best retailer.
The core principle of “team work” and the remarkable mentality that there are enough resources and opportunities for everyone, makes the Herbalife business extraordinary and indeed not like any other business many people can identify with.
For a man who despite attaining a Doctorate in Applied Mathematics from the University of Southampton in England but decided to quit his lecturing job to become an advocate of nutrition, there are many lessons to draw from Mphaka’s experiences.
Mphaka spoke at length of his beliefs on how education is an instrument to liberate people and provide the capacity to think outside the box.
He believes people should not get educated to focus on working only in their areas of expertise but to also, use their knowledge to diversify and influence change in other sectors.
“There is a great sense of helplessness among many young people who after graduating, usually expect to be formally employed only to be frustrated when they fail to get the expected jobs. The thinking of getting educated for formal employment has blinded many people from seeing available opportunities that could also change their lives. Herbalife has created a culture of abundance in which all people, particularly those under-employed and unemployed can tap into.”
For Mphaka who views education in a different dimension, unlimited opportunities await those willing to broaden their perceptions. However, becoming involved in a business where education or specific academic qualification is not really important, has both humbled and opened new doors for him.
One other important factor for Mphaka was working on himself to be able to operate from the same level with those he interacted with. “The transformation process was quite beneficial to me because I got to understand the broader meaning of life and the business as well.”
Mphaka was speaking ahead of Herbalife’s 15thanniversary celebrations to take place in Lesotho this month.
Between 13-15th, Herbalife distributors, customers, friends and all those interested to learn more about the many benefits on offer, will gather at the Victoria Hotel in Maseru.
Testimonials and presentations on how the products work and information on the immense benefits of becoming part of Herbalife would also be shared during the anniversary celebrations.
Herbalife International, which was founded by the late Mark Hughes in 1980, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and operates in 91 countries so far, seven of them in Africa (Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Ghana, South Africa, Zambia and Swaziland.)
However, between 1999 and 2000, Mphaka taught at the National University of Lesotho before he moved to Witswatersrand University where he was engaged as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Mathematics of Finance until the beginning of 2003.
“After lecturing for a few years, I realised I could still lecture but in different way. I wanted to do things right and be of great service to the society. I decided to take the bull by the horns and pursued my dream.”
Married and a father of two, he said making such a decision was not easy.
“It was not easy for me to quit my job but I reached a stage where I felt strongly that if I did not, I would be unhappy. I had to deal with the fear of the unknown, which was a normal process. The most important thing for me was defining my passion and having the determination to do something great. Since 2005 when I started the Herbalife business full-time, I have never looked back.”
It is work that has seen him educate many people on the benefits of healthy eating practices while his eyes have also been opened to understanding the opportunities that existed for everyone in this line of business.
But how did all this begin? “In 2002 my wife, who had been struggling with her weight, started using Herbalife products in order to lose weight. After a few weeks I noticed a significant improvement which also changed me. It was amazing that suddenly the products had managed to revitalise and make my wife feel and look much better. I decided to also use the products.”
He also learnt that the Herbalife products are not just food, but food that adequately meets all vital nutritional needs. His health improved tremendously; and his long-term skin challenges became the thing of the past.
“It was at that point that I started asking questions and wanted to learn more about the products.”
Apart from the ability of the products to maintain good health, he also learnt about the opportunities to teach others while at the same time, earning a living if he decided to get involved in the Herbalife business.
“The life-changing nature of the products, which I had also experienced and at the same time, the seamless financial opportunities, strengthened my argument to quit my work at the university.” However, after Mphaka quit his job, he was also soon to learn that despite the prospects to earn more than he was earning at the university, a significant income was not going to come immediately.
“Despite the initial challenges, the spirit behind what I strongly believed in kept me going. My wife worked with me on a part-time basis and our determination to pursue something we believed in later paid off,” he said.
The income started improving and so were other benefits.
“As the income started to increase, I also decided to employ more innovation with the view of doing more.” In 2008 the couple opened a Club in Bloemfontein. The Healthy Breakfast Club, he explained, provides a comfortable school environment from where people learn and share their experiences. It is in this Club, where new ideas are born and many people taught how to get great results from the Herbalife products and the importance of a balanced healthy breakfast. “We have come a long way, from being exposed to some skepticism to becoming the trusted advocates of good nutrition.”
Through knowledge-sharing whose objectives included grooming more nutrition coaches and broad teaching on nutrition, eight more Clubs have since opened in Bloemfontein central since 2008.
“I have worked with people who started from nothing but have not only tremendously grown but also uplifted the lives of others.”
He cited cases of the rich and poor who despite coming from different classes had one common need, which is to become healthy.
One woman aged 68, he said, was not only poor health-wise but also struggled to look after her 17 grandchildren. After she got great results on the products, Mphaka encouraged and coached her to take the Herbalife income opportunity seriously as a way to help her look after her grandchildren. “She now feels great, looks younger and earns more than enough to take care of her dependants. She also enjoys travelling around southern Africa,” Mphaka said.
Through Herbalife, Mphaka in 2010 also got the opportunity to travel on a vacation to Zanzibar and then, with his wife, to Thailand last year where they received superstar treatme