Business & Entrepreneurship

Street cred in high heels

  • In 2007 the World Economic Forum selected her as a ‘Global Young Leader’
  • In 2008 the Wall Street Journal placed her among their ‘Top 50 Women in the World to Watch’
  • In 2011 Forbes named her one of their ‘20 Youngest Power Women in Africa’
  • Forbes Africa’s 2014 Businesswoman of the Year
  • 2019 – CEO of Naspers SA

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa has been appointed CEO of Naspers SA for the media and e-commerce group, reporting directly to CEO Bob van Dijk. Based in Johannesburg, she will be responsible for the group’s day-to-day business in SA and its recently formed Naspers Foundry and Naspers Labs.

Naspers Foundry is a R1.4bn start-up funding initiative aimed at boosting the local technology sector, and Naspers Labs is an initiative aimed at developing the skills and talent of SA’s unemployed youth.

‘Her significant investor and board experience across varied sectors makes Phuthi the perfect match for this important role at Naspers,’ Van Dijk said of Mahanyele-Dabengwa, who was executive chair at Sigma Capital, a private majority-black-owned investment group.

In an interview with Bruce Whitfield (702 Money Show) recorded for his first ‘Make Money Monday’ show in 2016, and replayed on air after her appointment as Naspers SA CEO, Phuti gave a disarmingly honest glimpse into how she became the person she is. 

Her dad ignored her request for a pair of roller skates for her birthday … and instead bought equity. She, as a child, looked at the piece of paper and wished it had been roller skates. Her dad did the same for her sister’s birthday that year.

The shares he invested their birthday money in was Naspers!

Fast forward 30+ years, she is CEO of Naspers and a worthy inspiration to any young person who is able to hear the lessons she so graciously imparts. Lessons in accepting opportunity, not letting a negative environment (apartheid) define oneself, taking lemons (equity) and making lemonade (CEO) in an international company.

An African inspiration if ever there was one!

By Julie Walker

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