WATCH: Ramaphosa commits to fulfilling Maponya's wish
Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa said he will do all he can to build an entrepreneurship academy as requested by the late Dr Richard Maponya.
Delivering the eulogy at Maponya’s funeral at Imbizo Hall at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus, Ramaphosa said in his final conversation with the businessman, he asked that the president set up an academy for up and coming business people.
“It is a wish I will endeavour to see fulfilled on his behalf,” Ramaphosa said.
He described the founder of Maponya Mall in Soweto as a patriot who was dedicated to South Africans economic development. “He was one of our most dedicated country’s patriots. He was a soldier, not on the battlefield but at the frontline of the emancipation of economic freedom - a fight that continues today.
“He inspired a whole new generation of business people. He took them under his wing and they became people who stood on his shoulders. One of the outstanding things he did was give courage to others,” Ramaphosa said.
He said a lesson people can learn from Maponya’s life was that a humble beginning was not a barrier for success.
“He has left behind a huge legacy that goes beyond the brick and mortar of his business. He has forever changed the face of business in South Africa, in the history of this country, his contributions will forever be remembered and cherished,” Ramaphosa said.
Former President Mbeki and Kgalema Motlante are in attendance as well as ministers, business people and members of the public.
Maponya died last week at the age of 99.
During the 1960s and 1970s he was a member of the Urban Bantu Council. He resigned in 1977. In the 1960s he was a founding member and the first president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) and was the founder and chairman of the African Chamber of Commerce.