In honour of International Women’s Month, ITHUBA proudly recognises its Group CEO, Charmaine Mabuza, as a formidable black female leader making a difference in South Africa. As the first black female CEO to be awarded the licence to operate the National Lottery in South Africa in June 2015, Charmaine has been leading ITHUBA, shaping new realities and futures through an innovative and highly responsive business that mirrors the aspirations of society.
Charmaine’s humble origins, entrepreneurial roots, and passion for helping South Africans are the driving force behind ITHUBA Holdings’ culture and purpose. Raised in Empangeni in KwaZulu Natal, Charmaine’s mother instilled in her the values of hard work, self-reliance, and consistency, which helped shape her view and drive to succeed despite societal barriers. Charmaine’s mother, a single parent, demonstrated business acumen in her informal business enterprise, inspiring Charmaine to pursue her love for commerce, success, and community.
Charmaine co-founded Zamani Holdings, which includes subsidiaries such as ITHUBA, each with independent management teams. ITHUBA is South Africa’s National Lottery operator, with the mandate to operate the National Lottery and drive sales to create revenue on behalf of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC). The National Lotteries Commission manages the distribution and allocation of funds towards good causes. As the licensed operator of the National Lottery, Charmaine’s drive and leadership has helped change countless lives as players of the National Lottery games win cash prizes, and many became multi-millionaires overnight.
ITHUBA also runs its corporate social responsibility initiatives, such as the ITHUBA Bursary Programme, which provides tertiary education opportunities for the youth and empowers SMEs through its Enterprise and Supplier Development programs. ITHUBA’s socio-economic development initiatives reflect Charmaine’s deep appreciation for shared value, linking a business’ sustainable growth to community investment that transcends profit and creates educational and entrepreneurial opportunities for others.
“My journey has led me to constantly look at ways I can uplift other women in unfortunate situations I was in once. Had I not been given an opportunity, where would I be today? So, this is an important part of my life, my DNA, and it also translates into the ITHUBA brand,” says Charmaine.
Charmaine’s philanthropy has consolidated into a foundation that provides financial assistance for students to cover registration, accommodation, and travel costs. To date, the foundation has supported the education of doctors, chartered accountants, quantity surveyors, ICT specialists, and many more professionals.
Charmaine has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Vision 2030 Top Woman in Education Award, Forbes Africa Social Impact Award (2020), CEO of the Year, Outstanding Women Leadership Award at the Africa Leadership Awards 2021, and was selected as one of the Top 10 Influential Women in the global iGaming Business (IGB) list.
Charmaine Mabuza’s story highlights the power of opportunity, support, hard work, resilience, creativity, and feminine energy. She demonstrates how female experiences have the potential to build resilient, human-centric and sustainable businesses that can uplift communities, provide opportunities, and build nations. Through the attitude and drive of Charmaine and the other talented people at ITHUBA Holdings, they leave an indelible mark of opportunity and self-reliance for generations to come.
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