On 24 December, Richard Maponya celebrated his 99th birthday. Maponya is one of South Africa's most prominent and richest businessmen.
On Tuesday, South African activist and businessman Richard Maponya turned 99 years old. Maponya is a property developer who founded a business empire, Soweto's Maponya Mall, all while battling the apartheid restrictions imposed on black South Africans at the time.
In honour of the businessman's birthday, Briefly.co.za gathered four quick facts about his life.
1. He had a completely different career
When Maponya worked as a teacher before taking a job as a stock trader at a clothing manufacturer at the age of 24.
Maponya bought soiled clothes and offcuts from the manager - which he then resold in Soweto, SME Africa reported.
2. Turning to Madiba and Tambo for help
After he saved enough money to open a clothing retailer in Soweto, Maponya employed Mandela and Tambo's law firm to help him secure a licence under the apartheid laws for business ownership for black South Africans.
3. Soweto's Maponya Mall
Maponya's business became a success and he started branching out. However, his biggest development was Soweto's Maponya Mall.
On 27 September, 2007, Madiba officially opened Maponya Mall - which is one of the largest shopping centres in the country.
4. Getting the land
In 1979, Maponya secured the property the mall is built on, on a 100-year lease. However, after a battle in 1994, the businessman was finally given the opportunity to own the land outright.
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