PICS: Politicians, business people and celebrities attend Maponya funeral
By Staff Reporter Jan 14, 2020
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President Cyril Ramaphosa and first lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe joined hundreds of mourners gathered at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto Campus on Tuesday morning for the funeral of iconic businessman Dr Richard Maponya.
The president will deliver the eulogy for the pioneering businessman who has been hailed as a modern-day Midas. Maponya passed away on Monday, January 06, just days after celebrating his 99th birthday.
President Ramaphosa has honoured Maponya with a Special Official Funeral Category 2. The National Flag has been flown at half-mast from last Friday and will remain until the evening of the burial at West Park Cemetery.
“We have lost a pioneer, a trailblazer and a man of extraordinary fortitude who paved the way for the racial transformation of the South African economy,” Ramaphosa said in a statement released by the Presidency after Maponya's death.
“Dr Maponya’s life is a testament to resilience, determination and the power of vision: namely to see black business grow to assume its full role as the key participant and driver of our economy.”
Also in attendance at the funeral are Gauteng premier David Makhura, former president Thabo Mbeki, former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, IFP leader Mangosothu Buthelezi, billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe, musician Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuza and a host of other prominent South Africans.
Before the start of the funeral, a moment of silence was observed at the Imbizo Hall.
Media entrepreneur Felicia Mabuza-Suttle addressed the mourners that Maponya and his late wife Marina were her mentors while she grew up in Soweto.
“Papa is happy where he is,” Mabuza-Suttle said.
She reminisced on how they used to call the Maponya house the White House.
Media entrepreneur Felicia Mabuza-Suttle. Picture: GCIS
“My husband and I used to call papa for his birthday and sing for him. And he would jokingly say that we need singing lessons because we can’t sing,” said Mabuza-Suttle.
She says growing up next to the Maponya she grasped the concept of "go big or go home."
On Monday a memorial service for the respected entrepreneur was held at Maponya Mall in Soweto. The mall, which was built by Maponya in 2006, was opened by former president Nelson Mandela in 2007.
Hundreds of Soweto residents turned out to pay their respects to Maponya. Among them was Lizzy Mabasa, a ward councillor for Pimville-Klipspruit where Maponya Mall is located. She praised Maponya for creating jobs and building a top-class mall for local residents.
“We’ve lost a father, a great giant, a great entrepreneur. Dr Maponya lived through the harsh realities of of the apartheid government and succeeded. He built a world-class Maponya Mall in the heart of South Africa: Soweto. It was like taking a Sandton and bringing it to Soweto,” Mabasa said.