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The Daphne Mashile-Nkosi business leadership journey

The founder of what is destined to be the world’s biggest manganese producer.

Daphne Mashile-Nkosi’s formidable drive as a business powerhouse, social worker, political activist and women’s rights campaigner, has its roots in the impoverished rural environment and staunchly patriarchal society of her birth. She refers to herself as an ‘unstoppable  tsunami’ that arrived on March 16 this year, when her Kalagadi Manganese mine began production – ten years after she started building it.

She makes this reference to herself without hubris, and simply as a statement of fact. In this inspiring, candid interview Mashile-Nkosi relates her story with all of its shades; hardship, injustice, incredibly fortunate happenstance, love, personal tragedy, success, wealth, and rich, earthy wisdom.

She speaks directly to the business women in the room, but also to the men who surround them. She shares hard-won leadership insights for everyone in this country. She dresses down our politicians and business leaders and offers unexpected solutions. She takes controversial positions regarding how to make the state-owned enterprises in this country work as productively as they did under the apartheid government. She talks knowledgeably about the lessons to be learnt from White Afrikaner society and how Afrikaners successfully preserved their culture. (She also happens to speak fluent Afrikaans.) 

She talks about wealth creation for the sake of a sustainable society, as opposed to personal riches. She relates the story of how she met the 88-year old Afrikaans mineworker from Kuruman who told her where to find the manganese that is today the location of her Kalagadi Manganese mine. It’s a story that sounds like a Hollywood movie script.

In partnership with FNB, Moneyweb presents this bespoke leadership video series with top business people. The interview draws on the person’s life, failures and the lessons they have learnt on their journey to the successful leadership positions they hold today.

Other business leaders share their stories here.

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