Cheryl Carolus

Company: Peotona Group Holdings Ltd.

Position: Co-Founder

Industry: Investment Firm

Country: South Africa


Cheryl is a co-founder of Peotona Capital, the women’s investment company that owns a 16% share in Ponahalo Investment Holdings, a new generation black empowerment company. Ponahalo Investment Holdings holds a joint 50% stake in Ponahalo that owns a 8% of the South African unit of De Beers, the world's top diamond miner, and is buying part of cement maker Lafarge SA's operations.

Cheryl’s career to date can be summed up as having championed South Africa’s transformation to democracy and her pursuit of equality at the highest levels focusing on race, gender and disability issues, sustainable job creation and the alleviation of poverty.

She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law in 2004 by the University of Cape Town for her human rights’ work. Back in 1979, armed with BA degrees in Law and Education, she began her working life as a secondary school teacher. She took up the post of full-time Provincial Secretary of the UDF Western Cape in 1983, and became its National Co-ordinator in 1985.

Cheryl joined the University of Western Cape as Education Resources and Information Project Staff Development Officer in 1990. The following year, she was elected full-time member of the ANC National Executive Committee and Head of the Human Development Department of the National Working Committee. Having become the NEC Co-ordinator of ANC policy in 1992, Cheryl was elected Deputy Secretary General of the ANC in 1994 responsible for its repositioning at national, provincial and municipal levels following the country’s first democratic election process. She played an integral role in former President Nelson Mandela’s consultative team in negotiating the country’s post Apartheid Constitution, thriving in active engagement with global business stakeholders that included Harry Oppenheimer.

Immediately prior to joining South African Tourism in 2002, Cheryl was South Africa’s High Commissioner in London, a post she assumed on 2 March 1998. During a high profile three-and-a-half year tenure, she forged strong parliamentary, NGO and global business relationships, and took the UK capital by storm by virtually taking over Trafalgar Square with the much-hailed eight-week long Celebrate SA, of which De Beers was a major sponsor.

During her three-year tenure as CEO with SA Tourism, she spearheaded the country’s repositioning as a global tourism destination of choice, led a process that saw Cabinet adopting a new Tourism Growth Strategy and the organisation’s move to becoming a cutting-edge, international award winning tourism marketing authority.

Community-based and non commercial activities / boards

Chair: South African National Parks Boards (current issues include marketing, customer relations and land claim settlements)

Chair: LoveLife

Board EXCO member: International Marketing Council of South Africa

Board EXCO Member: International Crisis Group

Board Member: WWF International; WWF SA

Board Member: Soul City Health Institute; Mpumalanga Premier’s Economic Advisory Council; Gauteng MEC for Safety and Security Advisory Group; Bridgetown Senior Secondary School Alumnus Society.

Current Board Positions (Non Executive)

Investec Ltd Plc

BDFM (Publishing Group)

PG Group



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