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Growing up as a kid in a township of Mamelodi, north of Pretoria, role models in the entrepreneurship were hard to find.

Starting and running a business during apartheid must have been one of the hardest things to do.

The laws were very restrictive against township entrepreneurs.

Everything about your business was regulated, what you sold, the price you sold it at, how to sold it, your store layout, operating hours, everything was regulated.

You had no title deed to your store, so should you breach these laws, you could be kicked out without recourse.

To start and run a successful and scalable businesses during apartheid meant you had to not only navigate the challenges of starting and running a business, which on their own these challenges are daunting, but you also had to navigate the challenges presented by a repressive brutal apartheid regime.

To run a successful business during a brutal apartheid government era, in a township with a state of emergency, meant you had to be a genius.

Rre Richard Maponya was one such genius.

He was a role model to us youngster who aspired to run our own businesses one day.

I have a lump in my throat as I say goodbye. Thank you Rre Maponya for the legacy.

Thank you for doing what great role models do, for giving the many of us hope that with dedication, determination, persistence and hard work, we could make a difference, just like you did.

Your legacy of entrepreneurship, businesses and leadership lives in us.

Onwards and upwards.

Respect.

Rest in Peace Sir.

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