South Africa: Trailblazing Soweto Businessman Richard Maponya Laid to Rest

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Hundreds of mourners gathered at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto campus to pay their last respects to pioneering businessman Richard Maponya.

"They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed."

This is an extract from When Great Trees Fall, the poem by legendary American poet Maya Angelou. It was located right at the end of the programme for Richard Maponya's funeral service on Tuesday 14 January; an ode to the legacy the man had carved out for himself.

The business mogul, who died aged 99 on 6 January 2020 after a short illness, was laid to rest at Westpark cemetery, next to his wife, Marina Maponya.

Hundreds gathered at the University of Johannesburg Soweto campus's Imbizo Hall to pay their final respects to the pioneering giant who carved a path for himself, as well as many others that followed him.

Dr Richard Maponya. (Photo: Gallo Images / Oupa Bopape)

"Fifty years ago, the very idea that a black person could build and own a shopping mall in a black township, where young black men and women could socialise, eat, buy books and watch movies, would have been dismissed as a fantasy," said President Cyril Ramaphosa...

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