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Richard Maponya remembered as ethical, extraordinary business trailblazer

Written by on January 8, 2020

Dr Maponya was the first black man to secure a 100-year lease for land in Soweto in 1979 and 15 years later, after several attempts, acquired it outright in 1994.

It’s on this land that he built Maponya Mall. In 2012, he went on to open Maponya Motor City in Klipspruit Valley Road in Orlando East, marking another milestone for the Maponya Group.

In 1964, he helped to established the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) and became its first president. Founded to look out for African businesses’ interest under apartheid, Nafcoc has remained one of the influential and vocal bodies representing black entrepreneurs.

Dr Maponya has been honoured with several of awards including the title of South Africa’s Grand Counsellor of the Baobab in gold – the highest SA’s civilian national honour – “for his excellent contribution to entrepreneurship despite oppressive apartheid conditions”. He also won various entrepreneurship prizes.


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