Born for this: How passion led young entrepreneur to success

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

A deep rooted love for helping others to live up to their full potential has led young Fanafikile Lephakha to venture out of the ordinary and step into the terrain of entrepreneurship.

Lephakha, a qualified Chemical Engineer, is the brains behind Mind Refinery, a company focused on personal development and life coaching.

Speaking to SAnews on Tuesday, Lephakha said over the last nine years, he has had the privilege of working with thousands of people across Southern Africa, helping them to take control of their destinies.

“Growing up in Qwaqwa in a very poor area, I realised that a lot of things and information do not reach people. When I came to Johannesburg, I learnt that there are many other issues or professions that I didn’t know about,” he said.

Lephakha, who has hails from the Free State province, obtained his Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Johannesburg in 2010 at the age of 22.

Lephakha would eventually make a bold switch in career paths, quitting chemical engineering to follow his passion for life coaching, something he believes he was born to do.

He is grateful for the training he received from some of the best trainers and coaches in the field, including the likes of Blair Singer and T Harv Eker.

Lephakha said he advises young people to always go for what they are passionate about and that through determination, anything is possible.

When he decided to leave his profession, Lephakha had many encounters with diverse people, experiences he said helped to shape him.

“There are so many things that I have learnt from them. I realised that if you don’t trust in yourself, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, you can’t achieve anything,” Lephakha said.

No ordinary man

Lephakha does not only talk the talk of personal motivation and development. He is a jack of many meaningful trades geared towards unlocking individuals’ potential.

Besides the title of personal development and life coach, Lephakha is a firewalking instructor, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, master facilitator and community leader.

He is also known for the unconventional naked hikes, which he said are about stripping down emotional scars and baggage that many carry.

In 2018, he had the honour of joining renowned South African adventurer, Riaan Manser, on his seven-metre rowing boat.

Without any water sports experience and without knowing how to swim, Lephakha was picked out of 1 500 hopefuls to join Manser on the expedition called The Odyssey.

They undertook a 5 500-km expedition from the Canary Islands to Barbados, which would last nearly two months.

Lephakha became the first black ocean rower in Africa to row across any ocean.

Despite injuries and the trauma of losing his mother while out at sea, Lephaka’s mind was set on completing the difficult task at hand.

Lephakha said the expedition taught him to always look for solutions and to be proactive.

"This was a whole new experience. I was essentially learning how to row in the middle of the ocean with a stranger, and it was overwhelming. I ended up learning more about myself.”

All his life’s experiences have taught Lephaka not to procrastinate, a lesson he wishes all young people would learn if they are to realise progress in their plans.

Lephakha said one of his biggest desires is to help people overcome anxiety, self-doubt and fear.

“Anytime I encounter fear, I want to go into that fear. Anytime I encounter a challenge, I want to go into that challenge.”

His message to the youth is simple, yet solid: the ability to overcome obstacles, both emotionally and physically, will empower you to try different things and open up different doors to a universe rich with many good things that life has to offer. –