IN QUOTES | Ramaphosa on Maponya: 'Legacy extends well beyond bricks and mortar'

15 January 2020 - 11:15 By Unathi Nkanjeni
President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late Richard Maponya as a man who 'lived for others'.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late Richard Maponya as a man who 'lived for others'.
Image: PresidencyZA via Twitter

President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late Richard Maponya as a fighter for the liberation of black South Africans.

The businessman died on January 6 after a short illness and was laid to rest on Tuesday.

Delivering the eulogy at Maponya's funeral service at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto campus, Ramaphosa said he “was truly a man who lived for others”.

Here is Ramaphosa's speech in quotes:

A soldier

“He was a soldier, not of the battlefield but at the frontline of the struggle for the economic emancipation of his people. A struggle that endures to this day.

“He was a fighter for the liberation of black South Africans from the shackles of poverty, from the manacles of marginalisation and from the chains of economic exclusion.”

Liberation movement

“During the apartheid era, he saw black business as part of the broad liberation movement to advance economic freedom.

“In a democratic SA, he saw the role of business as that of a partner to government, assisting to resolve the challenges of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment.”

Legacy in business

“Those who knew him will remember him for being forthright and a straight talker. He did not hesitate to chide us when he felt we were going off course, but always did so from a position of principle, not malice.

“He was alive to the challenges of our country but always urged us to do more and to go the extra mile to improve the operating environment for business, especially small business.”

Defied apartheid

“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. And yet, Richard Maponya did it.

“Fifty years ago, if it had been said that a black husband and wife team could build a business empire with interests in some of the most important sectors of our economy, it would have been laughed at. And yet, Richard and the late Marina Maponya did it.”

A great loss

“He has left behind a legacy that extends well beyond the bricks and mortar of his companies. Through his struggles and successes he forever changed the face of business in SA.

“In return for all he gave to his people and to this country, his head was anointed with oil and his cup overflowed.”


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