South African business mogul Richard Maponya dies at 99. South African business mogul Richard Maponya has died. He was 99 years old. Maponya who was well respected and regarded as the grandfather of black business in South Africa died in the early hours of Monday morning. His death comes after the businessman suffered from a short illness.
“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.” The family requested privacy “during this time of grieving,” and said that funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.
Maponya was dubbed as the father of black retail in South Africa and developed the over R400 million Maponya Mall in Soweto. His death was confirmed by family spokesperson Mandla Sibeko who said,
Maponya initially trained as a teacher. He started his business career in the clothing industry but was blocked from opening a clothing store by the apartheid government. He, later on, established a milk delivery service in the black township of Soweto and by the 1970s owned a number of shops, petrol stations and car dealerships.
Maponye became the first owner of a black-owned BMW dealership in Soweto in the 1980s, and also became the first black person to get horse-racing colours, reported the Mail & Guardian. “These were the black, green and gold of the then both banned African National Congress and Pan-Africanist Congress, making some white jockeys uncomfortable racing for him.”
In 2007, Maponya opened the Maponya Mall in Soweto on land he bought in the 1970s. He successfully resisted various attempts by the apartheid government to take the land away from him. The mall was built at a cost of well over R400 million rand.
Source – iHarare
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