Richard Maponya: Gone But Not Forgotten

African Celebs
2 min readJan 6, 2020

South African businessperson and a real estate developer, Dr. Richard Maponya has passed aways today January 06, 2020.

During the apartheid system in south Africa between 1948 and 1990s, Maponya, was still able to create a business territory and had the willpower to improve the south-western townships (Soweto) economically.

The 93 years old business tycoon who is officially known as Richard John Pelwana Maponya was born on December 24, 1920 in Tzaneen, present day Transvaal in South Africa.

At age 24, Maponya who had a diploma in education was teaching, as well as, taking inventories at a clothing manufacturing company.

In the course of the stock taking, he earned a promotion for his white boss and himself which made his boss appreciated him by selling him stained clothing and offcuts and Maponya resold them in Soweto.

However, Maponya who planned on using the money gained for the things he resold to set up a clothing shop was rejected by the then government and was never granted a license.

The intervention of Oliver Thambo and Mandela’s law firm couldn’t settle the issue regarding the clothing shop license.

Later around the 1950s, he and his wife who was a cousin of the late Nelson Madiba Mandela started a Dube Hygienic Diary business and employed boys to deliver orders to customers who had small or no refrigeration access.

His business grew with different shops including general stores, filling stations and car dealerships in the 1970s…

Originally published at on January 6, 2020.



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