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Well-known business icon Richard Maponya died at the age of 99 in the early hours of Monday morning.

Mr. Maponya was popularly known as the father of black retail in South Africa, defying the restrictions of decades-long white apartheid laws, to build his empire.

Richard Maponya started his business career in the clothing industry but was restricted from opening a clothing store by the apartheid government. In spite of their efforts though,by the 1970s, he had already established a milk delivery service in Soweto and owned a number of shops, petrol stations, and car dealerships.

Mr. Maponya became the first owner of a black-owned BMW dealership in Soweto and the first black person to get horse-racing colours, reported the Mail & Guardian. “These were the black, green and gold of the then banned African National Congress and Pan-Africanist Congress, making some white jockeys uncomfortable racing for him”

In 2007, he opened the Maponya Mall in Soweto on land he bought in the 1970s, he successfully resisted various efforts by the apartheid government to take the land away from him. The Maponya Mall now hosts more than 200 stores. 

Richard Maponya will be remembered for his admirable work ethic and endless perseverance, rest in power sir!

Richard Maponya dies at age 99