ON THE PASSING OF DR RICHARD MAPONYA

 

STATEMENT OF CONDOLENCES BY
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
FOUNDER OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY AND PRESIDENT EMERITUS
6 January 2020

 

In 2007, Time magazine honoured the great entrepreneur Dr Richard Maponya with these words, “He has spent his life subverting the established narrative.” How true that is of the man I knew and the man I called my friend.

It is with tremendous sadness that I express my condolences this morning on the passing of a South African giant.

Over the span of almost a century, Dr Maponya built a legacy that will stand for years to come. He will be remembered by future generations as an icon of black entrepreneurship, as a businessman par excellence, and as an example of bold leadership.

I myself will remember him as a man of talent, generosity and humour. His jovial presence was always felt and appreciated.

Dr Maponya was born into a world in which many doors were closed and many faces unfriendly. He did not have anything handed to him. But he showed us what can be achieved if we set our minds to it and are prepared to put in long hours, hard work and consistent effort.

Despite apartheid, despite hardship, despite the lack of support, resources or opportunity, Dr Maponya pulled himself up and became a successful businessman.

He became a pioneer in black entrepreneurship. But despite his formidable success, he never forgot where he came from. Indeed, his background shaped his social conscience and he became a champion of corporate social responsibility initiatives.

This was true to his character. I remember how, during apartheid, Dr Maponya and I were very sensitive to what was happening to our people and we were both involved in various ways in the fight against apartheid.

Dr Maponya honoured me with his presence at many of Inkatha’s rallies. I shall never forget speaking at Jabulani Amphitheatre, mobilizing disenfranchised South Africans to rise up and change this country, and seeing my friend Dr Maponya supporting me.

Politics was never his first passion. It played second fiddle to both business and friendship. But his support has meant a great deal to me throughout my life.

I have the greatest respect for Dr Maponya and for what he did for Black South Africans. His legacy is unmistakable as one travels through Soweto – a reminder that poverty can be overcome and race is not a defining factor.

I send my condolences to his family, his friends and to the many who admired him. May Dr Richard Maponya rest in peace.

Contact:
The Hon. Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
National Spokesperson of the IFP
071 111 0539