Richard Maponya Bio – Wiki
Richard Maponya was a South African entrepreneur and property developer best known for building a business empire despite the restrictions of apartheid and his determination to see the Soweto township develop economically.
Maponya was born on 24 December 1920 in Tzaneen, Transvaal. His birth name was Richard John Pelwana Maponya. He died on 6 January 2020.
We’d like to send our deepest condolences to the family of the late Ntate Richard Maponya. A giant of business leadership and a pioneer of transformation has passed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. #RIPRichardMaponya (Image:Facebook/Richard Maponya) pic.twitter.com/7lmE2PGBIK
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) January 6, 2020
He was Born in Thlabine, (about 20km west of Tzaneen). Maponya, at the age of 24, then a teacher, took a job as a stock taker at a clothing maker and subsequently won a promotion for both himself and his white manager.
In gratitude, the manager sold Maponya soiled clothing and offcuts, which he resold in Soweto. With the capital acquired he attempted to open a clothing retailer in Soweto but was blocked by the government’s refusal to grant him a license—–despite intervention by the law firm created by Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.
Instead, in the early 1950s, Maponya and his wife established the Dube Hygienic Dairy, which employed a fleet of boys on bicycles to deliver milk to customers in Soweto who had no access to electricity or refrigeration. By the 1970s the retail empire had grown to include several general stores, car dealerships and filling stations.
Richard Maponya opened the Maponya Mall in Soweto on 27 September 2007. It holds more than 200 stores and a cinema complex.
Maponya acquired the land where the mall is situated in 1979, at first as a 100-year lease. In 1994, after several attempts, he acquired it outright. Various attempts to finance construction failed until Maponya’s holding company entered into a joint venture with Zenprop Property Holdings.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Maponya was a member of the Urban Bantu Council. He resigned in 1977 shortly after a request from the youth affiliated with the African National Congress (ANC), and soon the council’s offices were demolished.
In the 1960s he was a founding member and first president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nefcoc), as well as the founder and chairman of the African Chamber of Commerce.
But some consider his boldest political move to have been his choice of horse-racing colors. As the first black person to be granted such colors in South Africa, Maponya chose green, gold and black, the colors of the ANC.
His wife’s name is Marina. She is a cousin of Nelson Mandela.
Richard Maponya died on 6 January 2020, after a brief illness. He was 99 years old.