Mphafudi was a fine businessman and farmer

JACOB Leburu Mphafudi was born on June 20 1927 at Tooiskraal in the then Transvaal, the fifth child of Elizabeth Mampane (née Mabusela) and Phesolo Jackson Mphafudi.

The young man did his primary schooling at St Placidus Catholic School, where he completed his Grade 8 in 1947. He did so well he was allowed to do two courses in one year.

He obtained his Junior Certificate in 1949 at Lemana College, after which he enrolled for a Teacher's Certificate at the same college.

Mphafudi married Leah Moipone Ntloge in 1956 and they were blessed with three children. Later he married Violet Sethuku Kekana in 1986 and they were blessed with a further three children.

He started his teaching career in 1953 at Modimollle Primary School and completed his matric while teaching there and was promoted to principal in 1956.

In between teaching and studying he sold soft goods (clothing) to colleagues and the general public.

Mphafudi retired from teaching in 1974 and became a full-time farmer at Leewkraal. He joined the Afrikander Cattle Breeding Society in Bloemfontein in 1975 and was a regular participant at agricultural exhibitions.

He moved to Temba in Hammanskraal, where he opened a cinema in partnership with Jessie Moroke and Mr Moanakwena.

He went into the hardware business with Mike Smith, which was followed by a liquor outlet and bar lounge (Lethabo), butchery (A1), soft drink wholesaling (Sunrise) and supermarkets.

Mphafudi was the first black man to get a franchise from Coca-Cola International to bottle, wholesale and distribute Coca-Cola products in the Odi and Moretele I and Moretele II regions of the former Bophuthatswana.

He was the founder, director and shareholder of Kilimanjaro Investments, a Coca-Cola bottling plant in East London. This company was the second black company to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1994 after Molope Foods.

His farming and business acumen saw him being appointed to the boards of the Agricultural Corporation and the Land Bank of Bophuthatswana.

In these positions he facilitated the emergence of black farmers in the homeland.

The old man won numerous prizes and awards including the GSSA (WVSA) in 1987; Vleissentraal Rotating Trophy for oxen above 260kg in 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008; First Prize South African Emerging Farmer of the Year 2007; Best Livestock Farmer of the Year 2007 from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment in North West in 2007.

A philanthropist who gave many students bursaries and educated all his family members and their children, he was a devoted Christian and member of the Young Men's Guild of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Temba Circuit.

He built a church in Unit D on a site donated by his son Jackie Mphafudi.

Mphafudi is survived by his elder sister Esther Setshedi, wife, four sons, four daughters, 12 grandchildren and five greatgrandchildren.