Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, a powerhouse in South African business, has carved a remarkable path marked by growth, innovation, and social impact. With roots in financial acumen cultivated at Fieldstone in New York, she elevated infrastructure development across the continent at the Development Bank of Southern Africa in the 1990s.
In 2015, she co-founded Sigma Capital, a trailblazing investment holding company in emerging African markets. Leading the charge, Mahanyele-Dabengwa turned Sigma Capital into a significant player in private equity, spanning financial services, media, and healthcare.
Her leadership prowess extends to Shanduka Group, where as CEO, she transformed the investment holding company into a South African economic powerhouse, diversifying across sectors and markets.
Taking the reins at Naspers South Africa in 2019, Mahanyele-Dabengwa, the first black and female CEO, spearheaded the digital transformation strategy. Focusing on fintech, e-commerce, and online classifieds, she solidified Naspers’ standing in the digital age.
Beyond the bottom lines, Mahanyele-Dabengwa champions education and social development through initiatives like the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation and the National Education Empowerment Trust, fostering talent and opportunities for future generations.
Globally recognized with accolades such as Forbes Woman Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, her commitment to ethical leadership and social responsibility serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs across Africa and beyond.
Billionaires.Africa spotlights seven companies linked to Mahanyele-Dabengwa, highlighting her pivotal role as a major player in the South African industry:
- Sigma Capital
Founded in 2015 by the visionary South African business titan, Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, Sigma Capital stands as a premier private equity firm. With a mission to unlock investment opportunities in underserved African markets, Mahanyele-Dabengwa, as the co-founder and executive chairperson, has steered Sigma Capital’s dynamic approach towards emerging markets, particularly in high-growth sectors like financial services, media, and healthcare across sub-Saharan Africa. Her legacy of pioneering growth in African markets and fostering responsible investing continues to inspire positive change in the continent’s entrepreneurial landscape.
- Naspers South Africa
Joining Naspers as South Africa CEO in July 2019, Mahanyele-Dabengwa has masterfully elevated Africa’s largest publicly traded company to unprecedented heights. Her leadership at Naspers has been transformative, overseeing a $4-billion enterprise engaged in publishing, retail, and venture capital investments. As a key figure in Naspers Foundry and Naspers Labs, Mahanyele-Dabengwa actively supports startups, fostering innovation and addressing youth unemployment in the tech sector.
- Kagiso Shanduka Trust
As a leader, Mahanyele-Dabengwa played a pivotal role in the Kagiso Shanduka Trust, a joint initiative between the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation and Kagiso Trust. Under her guidance, the trust focuses on whole school development, driving socio-economic transformation in South Africa through initiatives in education, youth development, healthcare, and enterprise development.
- Gigajoule Africa
Leading the charge as chairman of Gigajoule Africa, Mahanyele-Dabengwa is a renowned business leader and sustainability champion. Founded in 2011, Gigajoule Africa, a renewable energy developer and operator, under her leadership, focuses on providing clean and accessible energy solutions. Their impactful projects, such as the 138MW Kathu Solar Park in South Africa and the 52MW Nouakchott Wind Farm in Mauritania, showcase the company’s commitment to sustainable development across diverse regions.
- Bain & Company South Africa
At the helm of Bain & Company South Africa as chairman, Mahanyele-Dabengwa plays a crucial role in maintaining the firm’s global reputation for providing management consulting services. Her leadership ensures growth, excellence, and the delivery of high-quality consulting services in strategy, operations, technology, organization, and mergers and acquisitions.
Serving as an independent non-executive director at Vodacom Group Limited, Mahanyele-Dabengwa provides strategic insights to the company’s board. Her appointment is a testament to her exceptional leadership, business acumen, and contributions to various sectors in South Africa and internationally, addressing challenges and opportunities in the dynamic telecommunications industry.
- Discovery Insure
As an Independent Director since 2015, Mahanyele-Dabengwa has significantly influenced Discovery Insure, a leading South African financial services provider. Her expertise in finance, investment banking, and media aligns seamlessly with the company’s core values and operations. Her contributions in strategy, governance, and risk management have been instrumental in the success of Discovery Insure’s innovative risk management and shared-value insurance model.