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A little more than 100 years ago, Naspers was created by white South Africans to produce a Dutch-language newspaper. Now, Naspers, the continent’s biggest company, has just named its first woman, and first black person, as CEO.

Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa’s appointment to head the South African unit does not just buck the trend of white, male directors at Naspers. Only one black woman now runs a top 40-listed company on the JSE and only seven men of colour do. The new Naspers unit will not be traded, at least not right away, and includes e-commerce, food delivery, newspapers and online media...

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