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“I appeal to you guys to work hard and get educated; do not look to the government for bread, wake up and do it yourself.”
Richard Maponya’s business success indicates that success is defined by the resilience and courage of a person. From poverty-stricken Limpopo to a self-made entrepreneur, Maponya revolutionised and diversified entrepreneurship for the apartheid-struck black race and as a doyen of black business in Africa, taught us the value of unwithering determination.
He was the first black man to secure a 100 year lease for land in Soweto, president of the African Chamber of Commerce and founder/president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce. However, setting aside his accomplishments, Maponya had a unique story of adversity.
Maponya’s first job was as a merchandiser in a Johannesburg department store. His role was to select clothes for black consumers and although a successful joint venture that saw his white manager become CEO, Maponya’s race meant that he was unable to advance to an operational manager. This did not stop him. Instead, he used soiled clothing and offcuts gifted by his manager to resell for a profit in Soweto. This key step was the basis of Maponya’s success. Following his departure from this job, Mapanyo's attempts to acquire a clothes retailing store licence was blocked by the apartheid government. Although a setback, he used his savings to establish a dairy business delivering milk to Soweto via bicycle boys. Following its success, Maponya’s empire soon grew to include real estate, construction, retail, transport and energy, while in the meantime set a precedent to propel black-owned businesses forward. The story of Richard Maponya is the story of a hero.
He chose not to be a victim of a racially defining system and empowered himself to challenge the orthodox entrepreneurship of the past. Maponya overlooked the constraints of his environments and regardless of fear, substituted doubt for relentless courage. One is not a victim of a stereotype but the decision maker of their future. One step can change the life of a person and their adaptation to resilience will navigate their purpose. Your story is defined by you and the steps that you take to fulfil your purpose. The vision of Quantumbridge is to set a precedent for your success and the first step is taken by you