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Oakland, CA - Mills College alumna Zanele Mavuso Mbatha (Class of 1993) was recently featured in Economist magazine (February 8, 2007) in an article entitled “Digging Deep.” Since becoming the chief executive officer of Incwala, a South African mining-investment firm with a current market value of $1.7 billion, she has been working to turn the company into a diversified mining giant.

Mavuso Mbatha is a rarity in South Africa's white male-dominated mining business. The 36-year-old leads one of the largest black-owned and -operated companies in South Africa's mining industry.  She gained experience in financial analysis and mergers and acquisitions in both the U.S. and emerging markets. As an investment banker for JP Morgan and Salomon Brothers in New York City, Mavuso Mbatha performed financial analysis for cross-border transactions valued at more than $850 million. In South Africa, she assisted in raising more than $1 million for the Women Development Bank Trust in 2002, and in 2001, the World Economic Forum nominated her as a Global Leader of Tomorrow.

Incwala is a product of the country's “black economic empowerment” (BEE) policy to redress the economic injustices inherited from apartheid.

The daughter of exiled political activists, Mavuso Mbatha left her Soweto home as a child and was schooled in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and the Netherlands before studying political, legal, and economic analysis at Mills.

After years of absence, returning home was challenging. “In business, a black woman was nothing,” she recalls. With a partner, Mavuso Mbatha created her own investment company, Dema, which became one of three lead black investors that together with Lonplats employees, local people and a women's group, own 53 percent of Incwala. Lonplats is the world’s third largest primary platinum producer.

“My generation”, she says, “will be judged over whether it helps create a sustainable economic miracle to maintain political freedom.”

Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering innovative degree programs for undergraduate women, and graduate degree and certificate programs for women and men. Consistently recognized as one of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Mills currently ranks among the top 20 most diverse liberal arts colleges. The New York Times recently selected Mills as one of three leading California colleges for students to consider.

In 2006, the Washington Monthly College Rankings named Mills a leading liberal arts college based on community service, research spending, quality of preparation for graduate education, and social mobility. In addition, The Princeton Review’s annual guide, the Best 361 Colleges (2007) included Mills for the second year in a row among top U.S. institutions offering students an outstanding undergraduate education.

Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California on 135 lush acres, Mills provides a dynamic liberal arts education fostering women’s leadership, social responsibility, and creativity.

Deborah Dallinger
Communications Consultant

Last Updated: 3/2/07