Business sustainability of corporations a hundred years old, is not a regular occurrence in Africa. A qualitative historical study of the development of an insurance company succeeding on the trajectory of adapting to challenging context constitutes the core of this study. The historical analysis illustrates the role of social context, international political economy and management agency in negotiating a successful company to overcome contextual constraints. The South African Life Assurance Company (Sanlam) arrived at the end of the Second World War in 1945 with a basic business strategy focusing on sustaining its growth since 1918. Dynamic contextual changes mandated strategic management changes in the business focus, empowerment strategy and strategic vision of the company. This article explains how management responded to change, relying on international management practices to secure a century of African business success.
Key words: Context, sustainability, management.
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