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date: 27 October 2020

Maponya, Richardlocked

(24 Dec. 1926–6 Jan. 2020), entrepreneur,
  • Jeremy Rich


was born in the village of Lenyenye in the northern Limpopo province of South Africa. His parents were both farm workers who struggled to earn enough to support their family. Maponya attended primary and secondary school. His entrepreneurial vision began early. Noticing how white farmers used irrigation to grow vegetables, Maponya decided to follow their example and started selling produce to his family’s neighbors. His father criticized him for being too bold. Rather than pursue business immediately, he went to Kagiso Teachers’ Training College and moved to the big city of Johannesburg to become a teacher. However, this initial career proved to be a failure. One of Maponya’s relatives recommended that the young man seek out a job with a textiles manufacturing company in 1947 Maponya had a taste for fashion and eventually won a prize for being the best dressed man in the city so this move suited ...

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