South Africans from all walks of life came out in their numbers to bid farewell to South Africa's doyen of black business, Dr Richard Maponya at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus on Tuesday, 14 January 2020.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said that despite his stature in the business fraternity, Dr Maponya was always there to lend a helping hand to others.
"He wanted to see others alongside him on the rostrum of success. There were many obstacles that he faced along the way which ranged from: denied business licenses, denied credit and land, but none of these deterred him on his trajectory.
"If there is any lesson we take from the life of our departed friend, it is that humble beginnings and adversity are no barriers to success," said President Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa added that Maponya was a fighter for the liberation of Black South Africans from the shackles of poverty, marginalisation and economic exclusion.
"He was a soldier, not of the battlefield, but was at the frontline of the struggle for the economic emancipation of his people a struggle that endures to this day," said the President.
Premier David Makhura said the late business mogul was a giant elephant who had made profound impact on the lives of the people of this nation.
"Dr Maponya was a symbol of Black economic transformation in our country. He was an embodiment of tribulations and the triumph of black business people in our motherland.
"He was a walking monument that told the story in the most persuasive way of the irrepressible potential of the township economy.
"The best tribute we can pay to him is never to tire in our efforts and in our struggle for the transformation of our economy and our society," said Premier Makhura.
Paying tribute, South Africa's talk show host and entrepreneur, Felicia Mabuza-Suttle said growing up next to the family, she learnt that the expression that 'you either go big or go home' described Maponya.
"The Maponyas were role models. They epitomised hope, aspiration, promise, and prosperity for the boys and girls growing up in Soweto.
"He said be persistent and never give up. Work to the last day, and he did," said Mabuza-Suttle.
Source: Gauteng Province