“There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise”; these are the true and profound words of W.E.B Du Bois – an equal rights champion, author, and leading black intellectual and historian. This woman’s month, we look at inspiration, black South African women who embody Du Bois’ words. The determination of these women has seen them rise from humble beginnings, to today becoming forces to be reckoned with in the country and world at large.

If you were running low on motivation this Wednesday, then here are six of Mzansi’s richest black women, to amp up your motivational levels.


Bridgette Radebe
Bridgette Radebe is a pioneering businesswoman who’s a leader of the pack in her own right. Born into an entrepreneurial spirit, Bridgette’s father was a school teacher, who later started his own mining business; which catapulted her career path. She is the older sister of business mogul and SA’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe.

Bridgette, who Forbes Magazine previously nominated as one of 20 Most Powerful Women in Africa, has worked in various commerce industries and holds top positions in a few companies – although her main focus is mining. She is the founder of Mmaku Mining Limited and is one of the richest black women in Africa. Her last reported net worth was at R1 billion.

Judy Dlamini
Dr. Judy Dlamini is a qualified medical doctor who swapped her GP rooms for the board room. She is the chairperson of black women owned and managed company, Mbekani Investment Holdings, and is on the board of directors of healthcare company, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings as well as Anglo America. Judy, also holds a Master of Business Administration qualification and has other investments in the property, tourism and logistics sectors. Judy’s net-worth was last valued at R124 million.

Nonhlanhla Mjoli-Mncube
Nonhlanhla is a director and chairman for many companies, including Mjoli Development, Eziko Investments and The Alpha Network for Women. She is a leader in the housing finance, construction, development and gender rights fields, and sits on various boards including; Capitec Bank, WBHO Construction and Tongaat Hulett Sugar. Nonhlanhla holds a BA in Economics and Statistics degree and a Masters of Science qualification. She is also an economic advisor for President Jacob Zuma. The inspiring game changer’s net worth was last valued at R94 million.

Mamphela Ramphele
Although Dr. Mamphela Ramphele is a medical doctor by training, she holds many titles including being a renowned businesswoman and former politician and anti-apartheid activist. She was born to primary school teachers in the Bochum area in Limpopo. The former Agang SA political party leader had two children with anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. She is the former managing director of the World Bank and former chair of Goldfields Limited.

Johannesburg, South Africa, 18 February 2013. Mamphela Ramphele launched her new political party platform, Agang, in Johannesburg at the old Women’s Gaol at Constitutional Hill Monday. Photo Greg Nicolson

Mamphela is also a board of director on companies such as Medi-Clinic, Anglo American, Transnet and Standard Bank. Her net worth was last valued at R55 million.

Christine Ramon
Christine has been named the most powerful woman in business in SA and has a stellar CV to back her up. She has held executive positions in various organisations, including; Anglo Ashanti, Sasol, MTN and Johnnic.

The BCompt Honours holder has also been awarded the Most Influential Woman in the Petrochemicals sector in 2009. The powerhouse’s net worth was last valued at R49 million.

Irene Charnley
Irene is a telecommunications visionary who has held top executive positions at MTN, Time Media Limited and Johnnic Communications Limited. She started her career as a negotiator for the National Union of Mineworkers.

This 2012 Business Woman of the Years Award winner’s last net-worth was valued at R1.5 billion.

If these six women do not inspire you to aspire for more in life, then we don’t know what will. One message you should definitely take from this women’s month campaign is, “Black child, it’s possible”.

To all the women, continue to work hard, like these mentors, and remember to remain strong, no matter your circumstances – you never know who you are inspiring.

Have these women inspired you today?

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