Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, Naspers South Africa CEO

Phuthi, who is joining our panel of judges for the first time, is looking forward to interacting with the women at the helm of South Africa’s entrepreneurial sector who are seeking to make a significant difference through their work. Before joining Naspers in July 2019, Phuthi held the position of CEO at the Shanduka Group. She is the former executive chairperson of investment holding company Sigma Capital, and served as the head of the Project Finance South Africa business unit at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Prior to this, she was the vice president at Fieldstone, an international firm specialising in the financing of infrastructure assets. 

She has been awarded several prestigious accolades, including CNBC Africa’s All Africa Business Leaders Woman of the Year Award in 2019 and the Forbes Woman Africa Business Woman of the Year Award in 2014, and she has been counted among the Top 50 Women to Watch by the Wall Street Journal

Phuthi holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University and an MBA from De Montfort University, and she has completed the Kennedy School of Government Executive Education programme ‘Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century’ at Harvard University. 

Phuthi mentors young professionals and provides support for young students in her personal capacity. She also sits on the board of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, which focuses, among others, on education and entrepreneurship: through the Adopt-A-School Foundation it has to date benefited 713 434 learners, and through Black Umbrellas it has incubated 2 775 black businesses into employers of people in various industries. 

As South Africa CEO of Naspers, Phuthi will reinforce the company’s commitment to the advancement of women in its businesses and through its social-impact programme Naspers Labs and its investment vehicle Naspers Foundry. 

 WHAT PHUTHI WILL BE LOOKING FOR: ‘I am looking for courage.’