Pelwana Richard John Maponya was born in the Limpopo Province on 24th of December 1926.
He studied teaching at the University of Limpopo and after completing, he went to Soweto to look for teaching posts. When he got there, he was offered a job position by clothing company that seeked an educated black person to sell garments to miners and rural people. The position offered a higher salary than that of a teacher.
Whilst there, he proved an adept buyer of material that would appeal to black people in the townships. Just by touching a piece of fabric, he could tell whether it was from Germany, Britain, or Italy.
The company’s white general manager took a liking to Maponya as sales surged through the roof due to their partnership. Eventually, the manager was promoted to CEO level but unfortunately, Maponya couldn’t be promoted.
The manager told him, “You can’t become a general manager because you can’t oversee white people, there’s a glass ceiling over your head.”
However, as a token of appreciation for helping him become CEO, the manager gave him soiled clothing and cloth samples, which he sold in Soweto during his spare time, this allowed him to build up capital.
Maponya attracted buyers for his clothing, using a pay while you wear scheme(lay-bye), which was unheard of at the time. When the CEO retired, his supply of second-hand clothing ended, and was forced to resign from the job.
He started engaging in business around 1956, and wanted to open Soweto’s first retail clothing store, but was denied a licence by the apartheid bureaucrats.
Fortunately, he was given a different license than the one he hoped for, a licence to sell foodstuffs. This formed the kernel of his massive fortune as you know it today.
Maponya then set up the Dube Hygienic Dairy, the first business of its kind in Soweto. At a time when townships lacked refrigerators or electricity, Maponya dispatched delivery-men on bicycles to transport customers’ milk at peak hours.
By the 1970s, when regulations had been relaxed slightly, he set up 2 grocery stores, butchery, and a restaurant under the licence of a ‘native eating housekeeper’.
After 28 years of hardwork, perseverance and never backing down from challenges, Maponya finally realized his dream of building a world class complex, Maponya Mall.
Maponya Mall is centrally located and is the happening hub around which the Soweto community revolves. The mall caters to all needs of shoppers – food, fashion, entertainment, banking, electronics, hair & beauty, eyewear and more.
Richard Maponya rose from near obscurity to becoming one of South Africa’s most respected self-made businessman. Despite the humiliation of apartheid, he proved a visionary with a dream that refused to die.
Now without any further ado, let’s look at the TOP 10 RULES FOR SUCCESS the late Richard Maponya lived by:
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