Dr Sam Motsuenyane, an associate and friend of Dr Richard Maponya, during the memorial service for the business pioneer in Winterveldt yesterday. Bongani Shilubane African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - He took centre stage for 99 years to create wealth for himself and his family and uplift each community he laid his roots in.

These were the words used to describe businessman Dr Richard Maponya during a memorial service at his former home in Winterveldt yesterday.

Maponya died on January 6 after a short illness, and communities and dignitaries have continued to share their encounters and lessons learnt from the business pioneer.

Family representative Andy Maponya said the businessman had the heart of a parent and was a father to many people, including him.

He said one thing that struck him about Maponya was that he was able to help people when they needed him and would not boast about it.

“We saw him as a national asset and we hope that he has duplicated himself, as a good leader produces leaders who will surpass him.”

Long-time friend and business associate Dr Sam Motsuenyane said he was heartbroken at having lost his friend after 65 years.

He said he had not anticipated his friend’s death as he had been talking and laughing with him very recently.

Motsuenyane said he and Maponya had since 1940, when Winterveldt was established, tried to approach the Land Bank and different departments in order to bring development to the community, but to no avail.

“It’s disappointing to see malls cropping up near places where black people live, yet they are led to believe that they have no money.

“If you have no money why do they keep building malls in front of you? It’s because we’re consumers and not producers.

“Even what we eat doesn’t come from us. Let us teach our children here not to leave their land here and go and reside in shacks.”

Motsuenyane urged the community to use Maponya’s memory and hard work ethic to band together and finally start talking about how black people could be part of developing their own communities.

Maponya’s contribution to business and society won him many awards and accolades over the years, including honorary doctoral degrees from the Tshwane University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, University of Johannesburg and the Mangosuthu University of Technology.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a special official funeral (Category Two) for Maponya.

The Presidency defines a Category Two funeral as one which “entails elements of police ceremonial honours in line with the Presidency’s state, official and provincial funeral policy for distinguished persons specifically designated by the president of the Republic of South Africa”.

Pretoria News