Longstanding Owner Passes Away

Wanted to bring black people into the game

South African business pioneer and racehorse owner Dr Richard Maponya died in the early hours of Monday after a short illness.

In a short statement reported on fin24.com, the family said funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.”The family request some privacy during this time of grieving.”

Maponya was 99.

Dr Richard Maponya (Pic – Summerhill)

Wealthy property developer Dr Richard Maponya was the Michael Mahiakola yard’s major patron.

Mahiakola told the Sporting Post in an interview last year that Dr Richard Maponya was more than a father, a mentor and a grandfather to him.

“He  said he would give me horses and bring other black people into the game if I got my licence and that was all the commitment I needed at the time.”

A trained teacher, Maponya started his business career in the clothing industry, but was blocked from opening a clothing store by the apartheid government.

He then established a milk delivery service in Soweto and by the 1970s owned a number of shops, petrol stations and car dealerships.

He became the first owner of a black-owned BMW dealership in Soweto in the 1980s, and also became the first black person to get horse-racing colours, reported the Mail & Guardian. “These were the black, green and gold of the then both banned African National Congress and Pan-Africanist Congress, making some white jockeys uncomfortable racing for him.”

In 2007, Maponya opened the Maponya Mall in Soweto on land he bought in the 1970s. He successfully resisted various attempts by the apartheid government to take the land away from him.

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