Empowering Women: Phuti Mahanyele

To celebrate Women’s Month, we would like to inspire our female readers by looking at powerful women in business. Our first empowered woman is Phuti Mahanyele, CEO of Naspers, South Africa.

South Africa celebrates Women’s Month as a tribute to the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Building on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This iconic march was the turning point for South African women as they were now playing an equal part in a non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.

We have come a long way since the march in ’56. Women have more rights and freedom, but we have a long way to go. Women are still being paid less than men and have to deal with sexual harassment issues in and out of the office – and there’s a lack of women in positions of power.

Despite the issues that women have to face on a daily basis, there are women who have shown us that you can reach the top, even if you’re female. These women have broken social and corporate norms by paving the future for themselves.

We would like to celebrate Women’s Month by praising the achievements of powerful women. We hope to inspire our female readers to go out there, be successful and empower those around them.

Keep reading to find out why Phuti Mahanyele is an empowered woman.


Phuti Mahanyele plays a key part of the management team at Napsers as the CEO in South Africa.

To fully understand the accomplishment of Phuti Mahanyele’s position as CEO of Naspers, South Africa, you have to know who Naspers is. Let’s do a quick overview.

Today, 100 years later, Naspers is one of South Africa’s leading media companies. The company is responsible for businesses all over the world, including local Takealot, Superbalist, Mr D Food, OLX, AutoTrader SA, Property24 and Media24. It is well known for its television component, which includes MIH, MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa and M-Net. It has further presence in Europe, notably operating in Greece, Cyprus and the Netherlands. Naspers also operates in China, Taiwan and Thailand.

The company is pretty huge, and not just for South Africa, but for any global business.

Naspers is like those tech giants from Silicon Valley.

So, being the CE-freaking-O of Naspers is a pretty big deal.

Who is Phuti Mahanyele

Mahanyele was born in Soweto where she lived until she was 17 years old. It was her father, Mohale Mahanyele, who inspired her to find her passion in business.

Her parents were committed to giving her and her sister the best education possible with the expectation for them to work in a commercial environment. When Mahanyele was only 17 years old, her mother passed away at the young age of 42. This played a critical role in the way Mahanyele made use of her own time. She can’t understand why people waste so much time.

At the age of 17, Mahanyele left her home in Soweto to pursue a strong educational foundation. She went on to study in various places around the world. She attended Douglass College in the United States when she was only 17, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and earned an MBA from England’s DeMontfort University only three years later.

Mahanyele has always been highly passionate about investment banking and it’s something that she’s always wanted to do.

She began her career as an intern in New York at Fieldstone Private Capital Group, an international investment banking firm on Wall Street. Climbing the corporate ladder, Mahanyele quickly became the Vice President.

She transferred to the South African office where she could deepen her knowledge in investment services while being back home. She became head of the Project Finance South Africa unit at the Developed Bank of Southern Africa.

During 2004, she joined Shanduka Energy Ltd. as Managing Director, but not long after that, Mahanyele became the Chief Officer of the Shanduka Group. After working for seven years as Chief Officer, her mentor and Shanduka Group leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, appointed Phuti Mahanyele as the CEO of the Shanduka Group.

Today Phuti Mahanyele is a part of the Naspers global management team as the CEO, South Africa.

Being CEO of Naspers

Mahanyele reports directly to the Group CEO of Naspers, Bob van Dijk. She is based in Johannesburg where she leads the day-to-day business in South Africa and represents the company’s interests in the country. Mahanyele is also be responsible for the newly announced units within the company, Naspers Foundry and Naspers Labs, which aim to stimulate the local tech sector and tackle youth unemployment.

Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO South Africa, Naspers said:

“I am thrilled to be joining Naspers at such a pivotal time for the group and for South Africa and look forward to adding value to the group in realising its strategy in South Africa.”

Be empowered

Phuti is an inspiration to all South African women. She came from a township in Johannesburg, and today she’s 48 years old and running the largest technology investors company in South Africa. Now that’s pretty impressive.

From a very early age, Mahanyele understood how fragile time can be, so she took advantage of how she spent her time. When asked about leadership, Mahanyele responded saying that; “it’s about self-empowerment. It’s about self-envisioning. Because each and every person is a leader, it’s just about being able to be who you were supposed to be. But unfortunately most people live in fear.”

When looking at Mahanyele’s career, it’s easy to see that she is fearless. Mahanyele is an inspiration to all women to be fearless leaders who take advantage of time to pursue their dreams head on, no matter what.

If Phuti Mahanyele can do it, so can you.

Empower yourself and be the leader that you were meant to be.

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