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Business icon Richard Maponya to be remembered at memorial service

The renowned businessman Richard Maponya's memorial service will take place at the Rosebank Union Church on Wednesday.
The renowned businessman Richard Maponya's memorial service will take place at the Rosebank Union Church on Wednesday.

The memorial service of the late Soweto business icon Richard Maponya will take place in Johannesburg tomorrow.

This was announced by family spokesperson Mandla Sibeko on Tuesday.

“The family wishes to inform you that the memorial service of the late Dr Maponya, will take place at Rosebank Union Church: 38 St Andrews Road, corner William Nicol & Sandton Drive, Hurlingham. This service will be held on Wednesday, 8 January 2020 at 10h00 – 13h00. Funeral details will follow in due course,” Sibeko said.

Maponya, aged 99, died in hospital on Monday morning.

The businessman recently turned 99 and received a special message from President Cyril Ramaphosa who urged young people to research the icon and learn from him.

Born 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 joining forces, the two 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.

Ramaphosa joined South Africans in mourning Maponya’s departure.

“We have lost a pioneer, a trailblazer and a man of extraordinary fortitude who paved the way for the racial transformation of the South African economy. Dr Maponya’s life is a testament to resilience, determination and the power of vision: namely to see black business grow to assume its full role as the key participant and driver of our economy,” the president said in his official statement.

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