There are some important lessons for us, entrepreneurs, that Dr. Richard Maponya leaves us after passing away on 6 January 2020. Ntate Maponya passed away at the age of 99 years old after having recently just having celebrated his birthday on 24 December 2019.

Apart from being a successful and experienced businessman, he was also the founding president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) in South Africa. Nafcoc was launched in South Africa during 1964 as a body that will serve and represent the interests of small businesses in the country.

It goes without saying that with so many years of experience, his life offers some valuable lessons for all entrepreneurs.

We can learn the following from Ntate Maponya:

  1. He was humility personified. He would step out of his office at the businesses and come to the shop floor to assist his customers and workers.
  2. He saved his meager cash and built capital that built his empire. Inspirational. Patience and dogged determination being the cornerstone.
  3. He worked with people and for people; never against the people (hence we have never heard or read of him fighting or being embroiled in some controversy; akanokhanga muntu) He allowed fruit and vegetable hawkers to trade right in front of his store against elitist opposing views by many.
  4. Through his simple life, Ntate Maponya exhibited a formidable life of good values including personal values, business values, and family values.

These values we must emulate even after his death. He and Mama Marina Maponya (his late wife) were a marvel to watch, be it at work or home.

They were my favorite business couple.

We must thank God for having exposed us to Ntate Maponya who was a teacher, a leader, an anti-apartheid activist, an adorable father, exemplary husband and, now, an Angel.

May his beautiful soul rest in eternal peace. May his beautiful soul rest in peace.

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