Known in South Africa as the boardroom superstar and among global entrepreneurs as a seasoned business leader, Phuti Mahanyele-dabengwa has earned all the accolades that follow her name. She gives all the credit to her father who ensured she had the best education there was.
Born in Soweto, South Africa, in 1971, Phuti currently serves as the CEO of Naspers, one of the world’s most powerful investment firms and Africa’s most valuable company with a turnover of $19 billion (July 2019 figures).
She joined Naspers after she had previously held top executive positions in other investment banking companies in the United States and South Africa.
Early Life and Education
Life dealt Phuti a heavy blow when she was just 17 years old. Her mother passed. The job to raise her was left to her father, who did a heroic job at it. After the death of her mother in 1989, Phuti didn’t have enough time to mourn as her father sent her to the United States to further her studies.
Her father, she says, wanted to give her a level playground and let her see that she could be anything she wanted to be. Plus, traveling abroad was also an opportunity for her to escape the emotional roller-coaster that characterized her daily living because of her mother’s death.
“It was very difficult. Emotionally, it was like running away from the problem…. I could still smell my mother’s perfume in the house”, says Phuti, referring to her life before she went to the US for studies. Her beloved father later died in 2012…
Continue to read Phuti’s story in the latest issue of BEA magazine here: Find it on pages 78 & 79.
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