‘Maponya was a disciplinarian and had fine taste’ - Felicia Mabuza-Suttle

Felicia Mabuza-Suttle at Richard Maponya's funeral
Felicia Mabuza-Suttle at Richard Maponya's funeral
Image: Thulani Mbele

A disciplinarian, a man with fine taste but somewhat humerous and kind.

This is how business woman Felicia Mabuza-Suttle described the late Richard Maponya. Paying tribute at his funeral in Soweto, Mabuza-Suttle said the businessman's family was also hers.

"They were my second family," she said.

"He had style. With him it was either you go big or go home," said Mabuza-Suttle.

She added that the Maponyas held fine dinners at their home in Dube, Soweto, which were attended by celebrities. It was at one of these dinners that Mabuza-Suttle met someone who gave her the first breakthrough to go to the US.

Mabuza-Suttle was a neighbour to the Maponya home in Dube when she grew up as a child. She recalled how Maponya once met her wearing jeans and asked why she was dropping her style.

"He said to me 'I saw you wearing jeans like a gardener'. From that day, I never wore jeans again ," Mabuza-Suttle said.

She remembered Maponya as a disciplinarian. "No one misbehaved in his presence," she said.

Reverend PJ Mengoe of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Maponya was a member all his life, remembered Maponya as a humble and generous man.

"He made many contributions to the church many times. He never wanted to have any position church as he had many positions in his business," said Mengoai.

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