Tributes pour in for titan of black business Richard Maponya
Durban - Tributes and condolences have continued to pour in for South African business mogul Dr Richard Maponya, who died on Monday at the age of 99.
Maponya defied the restrictions of decades-long white apartheid rule to build a business empire, culminating in the opening of the Maponya mall in Soweto in 2007, which boasts over 200 stores and a cinema complex. He was also the first black man to open a BMW dealership in the township.
An inveterate entrepreneur, Maponya worked through his foundation and with others - including academia - to inculcate a business culture in Soweto.
On Monday night, parliament's select committee for economic development said Maponya's death was "a massive blow to business development" in the country.
"Losing such a giant of black business is traumatising," said chairman Mandla Rayi via an emailed statement.
“There is nothing Dr Maponya has not achieved in business through hard work and his quiet nature. He epitomised business success, sometimes during the most challenging times in our country.”
Rayi called on aspiring entrepreneurs to emulate Maponya and, and in so doing to ensure the upliftment of the economy and of "black business".
"The committee sends its condolences to the Maponya family, friends and the entire business community," he said.
In its condolence message, the Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF) said it was committed to preserving Maponya's legacy.
PPF president Kashif Wicomb said Maponya was a pioneer of black excellence, "a defiant citizen against the oppressive laws and a good example of what all South Africans can be notwithstanding their backgrounds".
“As the country’s middle strata mainly made up of professionals, intellectuals, academics and patriotic entrepreneurs, we individually and collectively find inspiration in Doctor Richard Maponya’ s successes, tenacity and commitment to advance the black business agenda, including the SMME sector, hence our commitment as PPF to continue his campaign and preserve his legacy in all that we do.”
The PPF conveyed its appreciation to the Maponya family for sharing the icon with South Africa and the continent, said Wicomb.
"May his soul be warmly welcomed by the likes of Ntato Motlana, Don Mkhwanazi and others in whom the thesis of black economic empowerment was developed."
African News Agency (ANA)