Freedom Park mourns the loss of Dr Richard Maponya. He passed away after a short illness. The doyen of business has fallen.
A trained teacher, he started his business career in the clothing industry, but was blocked from opening a clothing store by the apartheid government. He became the first owner of a black-owned BMW dealership in Soweto in the 1980s, and also became the first black person to get horse-racing colours. These were the black, green and gold of the then both banned African National Congress and Pan-Africanist Congress, making some white jockeys uncomfortable racing for him. In 2007, Maponya opened the Maponya Mall in Soweto on land he bought in the 1970s. He successfully resisted various attempts by the apartheid government to take the land away from him.
Freedom Park pays tribute to this great legend, and we should draw lessons from how he overcame adversity to become one of the greatest pioneers and success stories of our time.
Our condolences to his children, his family and the business fraternity.