Richard Maponya Biography: House, Wife, Children, Age, Businesses, Net Worth, Companies, Story

Richard Maponya Biography: House, Wife, Children, Age, Businesses, Net Worth, Companies, Story

Posted By Princess Tshegofatso


Richard John Pelwana Maponya, GCOB (born December 24, 1920) was a formidable South African icon who etched his indelible mark as a visionary property developer and intrepid entrepreneur. His indomitable spirit allowed him to construct a thriving commercial empire despite the oppressive constraints of apartheid. His fervent desire was to witness the dynamic economic growth of the Soweto township.

Richard Maponya‘s extraordinary ability to navigate the challenges of apartheid and create a prosperous legacy sets him apart. He fearlessly embraced his entrepreneurial journey, defying the odds and transforming Soweto into a beacon of opportunity. Through his dedication and astute business acumen, he shattered barriers and brought economic vitality to a community long overlooked.

Beyond the sphere of property development, Richard Maponya embodied hope and resilience. His story serves as a testament to the triumph of the human spirit, inspiring generations to strive for greatness despite adversity. His vision and tenacity inspire individuals to break free from societal constraints and pursue their dreams with determination.

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Richard Maponya: History ‧ Bio ‧ Photo
Wiki Facts & About Data
Full Name: Richard John Pelwana Maponya
Stage Name: Richard Maponya
Born: 24 December 1920 (age 99 years old)
Place of Birth: Limpopo, South Africa
Education: 6 January 2020
Nationality: South African
Education: University of the Witwatersrand
Parents: Kgomotso Maponya, Maria Maponya
Siblings: N/A
Spouse: Evelyn Malope, Joyce Maponya (m. 1953-2020)
Girlfriend • Partner: N/A
Children: Richard Maponya Jr., Yvonne Maponya, Bridget Maponya, Chichi Maponya, Mpho Maponya, Tshepiso Maponya, Nombuyiselo Maponya, Thembinkosi Maponya
Occupation: Entrepreneur • Property Developer
Net Worth: $25 million

Early Life & Education

Richard Maponya, a man of humble origins, was born on December 24, 1920, in Lenyenye, South Africa, which is now part of the Limpopo Province. He was the son of a farmer and a teacher, growing up in a family deeply rooted in hard work and education. He received his early education at Spitzkop Primary School and later graduated from Ga-Mamabolo High School in 1939.

With a thirst for knowledge and a desire to make a difference, Richard Maponya ventured to Johannesburg to pursue a teaching career. In 1942, he completed his teacher training at the esteemed University of the Witwatersrand. Following his graduation, he dedicated two years of his life to teaching at a school in Alexandra Township, leaving an indelible impact on the lives of his students.

While Richard Maponya‘s initial path led him to the world of education, fate had other plans. His relentless drive and inherent business acumen caught the attention of opportunities beyond the classroom walls. In search of new horizons, he embraced a position as a merchandiser in a department store in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township.

Richard Maponya‘s dedication and flair for his work quickly propelled him forward. Within three months, he earned a promotion to the buyer role entrusted with selecting clothing for black customers. This close collaboration with his white manager allowed him to bridge divides and establish himself as a trusted and influential figure in the business world.


Richard Maponya, a visionary ahead of his time, left an indelible mark on Soweto. In 1954, he defied societal norms by opening a small grocery store, marking a watershed moment as the first black person to receive a business license in Soweto. The store flourished, enabling him to expand his empire to include a butchery, a bakery, and a furniture store.

Fast forward to the 1970s, and Richard Maponya‘s ambition soared to new heights with creating Maponya Mall, Soweto’s inaugural shopping centre. This groundbreaking venture not only invigorated the local economy but also exemplified his belief in the potential of his community. Inspired by his success, he established the Maponya Group, a conglomerate with diverse interests spanning property development, construction, retail, and transportation.

Yet, Richard Maponya‘s contributions extended beyond commerce. He fearlessly spoke out against apartheid, playing a pivotal role as a founding member of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc). Moreover, his philanthropic endeavours as a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund showcased his commitment to uplifting others.

Recognition for Richard Maponya‘s extraordinary achievements came from prestigious awards, including the Order of the Baobab, South Africa’s highest civilian honour. The University of the Witwatersrand also earned him an honorary doctorate, acknowledging his profound impact on the business and social landscape.

In January 2020, the world bid farewell to Richard Maponya, a trailblazer who paved the way for future generations of black entrepreneurs. His legacy remains a beacon of inspiration, reminding us of the transformative power of resilience, determination, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Social Media

Richard Maponya did not have any personal social media accounts. However, several social media accounts are dedicated to his legacy. These accounts share information about his life, work, and impact on South Africa.

Personal Life

Richard Maponya, the eldest of six children born to Kgomotso Maponya and Maria Maponya, married Joyce Maponya in 1953. Richard Maponya Jr.Yvonne MaponyaBridget MaponyaChichi MaponyaMpho Maponya, and Tshepiso Maponya are their five children.

In 1944, Richard Maponya entered a new chapter of his life when he tied the knot with Evelyn Malope. Together, they embarked on a journey filled with love, family, and shared aspirations. The couple was blessed with four children: Richard Maponya Jr.Nombuyiselo MaponyaThembinkosi Maponya, and Tshepiso Maponya, who brought immeasurable joy and fulfilment to their lives.

Net Worth

Richard Maponya was a South African businessman with a net worth of $25 million. He is the founder and chairman of the Maponya Group, a diversified conglomerate with interests in property, retail, and manufacturing.

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