Born in 1971 in Dobsonville, Soweto, her head was set on business from a young age. Her father, the late Mohale Mahanyele, i s seen as one of the big pioneers of black business. He was a founder of National Sorghum Breweries and served on numerous business boards until his death i n 2012. Her mother died when she was 17. Mahanyele graduated with a degree in economics from Rutgers Universit y i n t he US i n 1 993 and an MBA from De Montfort University in the UK in 1996. She started her career at Fieldstone Private Capital Group in New York City, eventually becoming vice president before being transferred to the South African office.