1. Wendy Luhabe
The First Lady of Gauteng (she's married to Premier Mbhazima Shilowa), Wendy is the face of female empowerment in South Africa and has one of the most inspiring business records in the country. She's held prestigious positions at companies ranging from BMW to Vodacom, is the chairperson of the Industrial Development Council and the International Marketing Council and is also the director of Cycad Financial Holdings. Luhabe recently joined the Johannesburg Securities Exchange as aboard member.

2. Bridgette Radebe
Mining magnate Bridgette Radebe founded and heads Mmakau Mining – she's the only woman to head a deep- level, hard-rock mining company in South Africa. Married to Minister of Public Enterprises Jeff Radebe, Bridgette's certainly a busy woman.

Her company website profile reveals: "Ms Radebe is also a founder and board of trustee member of the New Africa Mining Fund, founder and president of the SA Mining Development Association (the Junior Mining Chamber) and vice-chairperson of the Minerals and Mining Development Board that advises the Minister of Minerals and Energy. She additionally serves on the Sappi board."

3. Sheila Johnson
America's first black female billionaire (yes, before Oprah), Sheila is a businesswoman who formed Black Entertainment Television (BET) with her ex-husband, Bob Johnson. When they sold off BET's stock options, the pair split the proceeds, leaving with $1,5-billion... each.

Johnson currently owns a luxury inn and spa and is a philanthropist who supports the UN Children's Fund (UNCF).

4. Oprah Winfrey
She's the multi-award-winning host of the highest-rated talk show in TV history. She's also a producer, publisher and philanthropist.

Listed as one of the 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century by Time magazine, Oprah uses her power to achieve more than just a good bank balance (did we mention she's also a billionaire?): she successfully lobbied for a Bill to create a national registry of convicted child molesters (called the "Oprah Bill"), rewards individual good deeds through her Angel Network, and has invested in several leadership and charity projects in South Africa.

5. Anne Moore
After starting her career as a corporate financial analyst, Anne Moore moved up through the ranks of several magazine publishing divisions to eventually become the publisher of the world's largest magazine company, Time Inc.

A graduate of Harvard Business School, Anne has received numerous awards and honours including being name done of Fortune magazine's 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business.

6. Felicia Mabuza-Suttle
Former host of herself-titled TV show, Dr Mabuza-Suttle (she holdsa PhD in communications) is an established businesswoman both locally and internationally. She is founding member and investor in Pamodzi Investment Holdings and has been appointed president of South African Tourism USA.

An outstanding entrepreneur, Mabuza-Suttle launched her own designer eyewear range, Felicia Eyewear,and the popular and successful restaurant, Back 'O the Moon.

7. Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi is the president and chief financial officer for PepsiCo Inc, the world's fourth-largest food and beverage company. Born and raised in India, Nooyi studied for an MBA in Calcutta before eventually moving to the US to further her studies.

Her exceptional management and strategic abilities attracted the attention of increasingly larger corporate brands until,in 1994, she was offered a job by both GE (General Electric) and PepsiCo. She took the latter, and worked her way up to the very top.

Nooyi is ranked as one ofthe 50 most powerful women in America.

8. Hixonia Nyasulu
Thembalihle Hixonia Nyasulu holds more directorships than any women in South Africa. Her marketing and entrepreneurial skills have established her as one of the most successful businesswomen in the country. She holds executive and board positions at companies like Anglo Platinum, Nedcor, Ayavuna Women's Investments and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Nyasulu wasa team member of Unilever's marketing department for six years and she has also been involved in the development of the R700-million uShakaMarine Park.

9. Maria Ramos
While director-general of the National Treasury, Ramos was named South Africa's Businesswoman of the Year in 2001. She has been described as a "gem" in the financial sector. Currently chief executive of Transnet, Ramos is one of the most sought-after financial gurus in the world and is known for her contribution to the upliftment of the SA economy by reducing borrowing and instilling fiscal discipline.

10. Ferial Haffajee
Haffajee started her journalism career as an intern at what was then known the Weekly Mail; little did she know that in February 2004, she would take over as the editor of the renamed Mail & Guardian, making her the first woman editor of a national weekly newspaper.

Haffajee shot to fame as one of the reporters who interviewed former president Nelson Mandela soon after his release from prison.

11. Tumi Makgabo
South African news anchor Tumi Makgabo was head-hunted by US news network CNN in 2000. Before she headed off to CNN headquarters in Atlanta (as the first black South African to grace the news programme), she was a household name and the face of current affairs programmes like News Hour, SABC3 news and Afrikaans news.

Tumi has had the opportunity to interview prominent world figures such as the Dalai Lama, Shimon Peres, Thabo Mbeki and Oprah Winfrey. She now serves on the South African 2010 organising committee in the communications department.

12. Neo Ntsoma
Neo is a prominent black female photographer in South Africa and was the first woman to be the recipient of the CNN Africa Photographer of the Year Award. She is one of only four photographers chosen to exhibit their work as part of the All Roads Photography Programme, supported by the National Geographic Society and is also a five-time winner of the Fuji Press Award.

Her work has been published in major international publications such as The Washington Post, Time and The London Telegraph.

13. Nunu Ntshingila
Nunu is considered the highest-ranking black woman in the advertising industry (she's known as the "First Lady of Advertising").

She is CEO of the internationally acclaimed agency Ogilvy& Mather RSTM and was the recipient of the 2004 Financial Mail Ad Focus "Agency Leader of the Year" award. Her previous roles were as acting general manager of SA Tourism, communications director of Nike SA and client services director at Herdbuoys.

She has contributed extensively to the recognition of black women in senior advertising agencies.

Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

100 women who changed our world
Women in film
Women in science
Women in beauty and fashion
Women in literature
Philanthropists and activists
Women of Sport
Women in politics
Women of note
Groundbreakers