Born 98 years ago in Tlhabini, a village outside Lenyenye in Limpopo, Maponya married Marina, a qualified social worker and the cousin of former president Nelson Mandela, in the 1950s.
After they joined forces, they became a power couple that propelled the family business into a general dealer, eatery, butchery, liquor stores and supermarket, car dealership and filling station.
For his efforts, he has scooped several awards.
In April 2015, the Durban University of Technology awarded him with an honorary doctorate.
He has scooped various awards including the Small Business Excellence Award (2007), World Enterprise Award (2008), was a recipient of the Top 100 Companies Award: Business Times (2008), Lifetime Achievement Award and a BEE Entrepreneur Award.
Last year, he became the second person to win the Lifetime Achiever Award, which is the highest accolade in the 30-year-old Entrepreneur of the Year competition.
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