President Cyril Ramaphosa has praised the iconic businessman, Dr Richard Maponya, for his successes – despite having humble beginnings. He also described the iconic businessman as a humble man of extraordinary resilience, who strived for success.

He was speaking at his funeral service at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus on Tuesday. Maponya passed away last Monday at the age of 99. He will be buried at the Westpark Cemetery later today.

Ramaphosa is among dignitaries – including former heads of state and ministers – attending the Special Official Funeral Category 2.

Ramaphosa delivered the eulogy. “A mere 50-years ago, if a young black child told their teacher that their ambition was to have their own business and train and mentor other black men and women to become entrepreneurs, they would have been dismissed as dreamers. And yet, Maponya proved that it can be done. We thank him for that. If there is any lesson that we take from his life, it is that humble beginnings and adversities are no barrier to success.”

‘Confidant, a mentor and a comrade’

Ramaphosa further described Maponya as a humble and generous individual, who remained as a confidant to those who knew him.

“The Maponya family have lost a father, a grandfather, an uncle and a brother. Those who knew and loved him have lost a confidant, a mentor and a comrade. On behalf of the government and the people of SA, I convey my deepest condolences to the family, the business community and to the people of Soweto – a place for which he held the deepest affection and where he began his journey into the business world.”

Youth to draw wisdom

The President has urged the youth to draw wisdom from the iconic businessman who impressed upon them the virtues of hard work, studying and taking up opportunities.

Ramaphosa says Maponya wanted the youth to refrain from having a sense of entitlement.

“He was fond of young people and always availed himself as a mentor. He encouraged young people to be disciplined, demonstrate initiative and be serious about training and study. He spoke often of the dangers of having a sense of entitlement and impressed upon young people about the virtues of hard work and of taking up opportunities, but most especially opportunities of educating themselves.”

Read President Ramaphosa’s full eulogy: 

Watch Live Dr Richard Maponya Service Part2