Entrepreneur and property developer Richard Maponya dies aged 99

South African businessman and property developer Ntate Richard Maponya has died in the early hours of Monday morning following a short illness. He was 99-years-old. 

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Born on the 24th December 1920 in Tzaneen,Transvaal in Limpopo, Richard John Pelwana Maponya, was well known for building a business empire despite the restrictions of apartheid and his determination to see the Soweto township develop economically.

In 2007 Richard Maponya opened the over R400 million Maponya Mall in Soweto. The famous Soweto Mall holds more than 200 stores and a cinema.

Family spokesperson Mandla Sibeko said: “Dr Maponya passed away this morning after a short illness and it’s been a shock to the family. He was the kind of man who was working every day and he was still working at 99-years-old.”

In November, the man dubbed as the father of black retail in South Africa, said he was concerned about the low employment rate in SA and that he planning to open an academy to train the youth on how to be entrepreneurs.

“Right now I am trying to come with an institution that must train all our youngsters so that when they graduate they get trained to use their own hands and be able to get employed or get into business in their own right,” –  a Facebook post reads.

Richard Maponya was the founding president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc), which was started in 1964 to serve the interests of small businesses. He was also the founder and chairman of the African Chamber of Commerce.

Maponya and his wife Marina (a cousin of Nelson Mandela) established the Dube Hygienic Dairy in Soweto. According to EWN, later, he also set up a butchery, a restaurant and two grocery stores in the area. He also had a petrol filling station and operated a General Motors dealership before the US company disinvested in South Africa in 1987. He was also involved in bus transport and had a BMW dealership in Soweto.

Image Courtesy: sowetanlive.co.za

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