South African entrepreneur and property developer Richard Maponya has died at the age of 99 after a short illness.
Richard John Pelwana Maponya rose from the impoverished rural areas of Limpopo to become one of the most respected and respectable self-made business people in South Africa. Despite the humiliation of apartheid and laws forbidding entrepreneurial spirit among black people, he proved a visionary with a dream that refused to die.
Maponya’s career highlights include being a trustee of The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and founder and first president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce.
He started small grocery stores in Soweto in the early 1950s, which led to various businesses including a butchery, liquor stores, and supermarket, car dealership and filling station. The most visible sign of his success is his 65,000m² Maponya Mall in Soweto which was opened in 2007.