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Charmaine Mabuza, Group CEO of Zamani Holdings on the challenges of navigating a male dominated industry


Zamani Holdings is the official sponsor of ICE Africa’s Women in Gaming initiative, can you explain why this is of importance to the organisation?
The subject of Women in Gaming is one that must be explored with great urgency. With only 20% of women in gaming occupying key-leadership roles and a smaller proportion of this number in ownership positions, it is critical that the industry scrutinizes the reasons why and that we rally towards eradicating gender prejudice in the gaming space. 
ICE Africa will host an exclusive Women In Gaming breakfast, how important is it to have events like this where women from across the industry can meet, network and share their experiences?
The challenges faced by the African business woman are the same: navigating a male dominated industry, changing the narrative around the capability of women, especially black women to lead successful entities, the continuous battle to push open the doors that the minority in power are constantly trying to shut on the faces of proficient women. These are challenges that we must resolve and events such as this afford us an opportunity to explore and share solutions.  The challenges of an African business woman are the same across Africa and require the same solutions. Different groups of women, depending on which region they are from have started navigating through these challenges. It is important that Women in Gaming from all across the continent join forces and share solutions. Their biggest threat is not each other, their biggest threat is prejudice against the rise of women in leadership positions.  

Image: Charmaine Mabuza, Group CEO of Zamani Holdings

As a wholly black-owned and 50% black female controlled company you are already shining a light on diversity in Africa: where do you see opportunities for other corporations to follow your lead and how can this help future-proof their brands going forward?
Corporate giants should not block the doors for black women to lead in the gaming industry. They must share the opportunities and not aim to monopolise the industry by excluding women, particularly black women.
Zamani is main sponsor of the ITHUBA lottery project, in your eyes what sets lotteries apart from other forms of gaming in Africa - do you feel this vertical can lead the way in terms of driving sustainable business growth across the continent?
In addition to providing self-enriching opportunities to players, the mandate of Lotteries is to raise funds that will help develop the socio-economic status of a country. This is something that ITHUBA takes very seriously. In the 2019 financial year, ITHUBA contributed R1.6 Billion to the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF). In this case, ITHUBA, powered by Zamani has gone beyond the call of duty. Some of the socio-economic initiatives that the group company has implemented include: a youth employment initiative which placed 11 young graduates in various departments within the company on a 12-month internship programme; a women empowerment programme that identified 65 female retailers to develop, train and upskill to improve their business skills and a media initiative to raise awareness and instil a sense of responsibility around the prevention of violence against women, especially femicide.
Zamani Fund’s philosophy of doing good whilst doing well is key to your brand so how do you achieve the balance between social responsibility and enabling business to operate in a competitive environment?
Zamani has put in place solid structures and processes that ensures day to day business operations run smoothly. There are also strict measurements, including internal auditing that hold the business accountable and ensures that deadlines are met. Because of these processes, Zamani does not drop the ball, we continue to be a responsible corporate citizen that operates successfully and competitively.
For more information on all of the opportunities available at gaming's only B2B pan-African event and to register, visit: iceafrica.za.com