This Sunday’s episode of the Play Your Part TV series focuses on South Africans who are helping build a better future for the country through the role they play in securing trade and investment. They include Richard Maponya, Leslie Sedibe, Vivian and Sorisha Reddy, Kenalemang Kgoroedira and Johanna Mukoki.
Dreaming big, Richard Maponya started out small selling clothing offcuts. Today he owns Maponya Group, with interests in property, retail, horseracing and vehicle sales. The determined entrepreneur also opened Soweto’s first major shopping centre, Maponya Mall, in 2007.
It has always been Richard John Pelwana Maponya’s dream to see Soweto grow its own flourishing economy. Born in Limpopo Province on 24 December 1926, Maponya is a property developer best known for building a business empire despite the restrictions apartheid imposed on black South Africans.
Buying locally made goods is not just about patriotism; it’s about investing in the country, economic growth and job creation. Leslie Sedibe, head of Proudly SA, says every citizen should buy South African goods every time they shop. It is one way they can play their part for the nation.
Social cohesion will only come on the back of economic success, says Sedibe. The country faces massive challenges of unemployment, poverty and growing inequalities, he points out. The simplest solution is to buy local as this will grow the economy and increase jobs.
Added to his business acumen, he is a passionate activist and introduced the Ubuntu Schools Campaign against sexual violence and bullying in schools.
There are some 36 000 commercial farmers in South Africa; they are in the main white and male. Yet, historically, Africa has been a continent of small-scale, subsistence farming where women crofter farmers have kept the food supply secure for their families and communities.
Now, a small – barely two hectares – organic farm in the North West Province is trying to revive that tradition. Kenalemang Kgoroeadira – or Mama Kena – a PhD student at University of South Africa (Unisa), who conceptualised the project, hopes Thojane Organic Farm will grow into a working example of small-scale sustainable farming that gives local residents access to healthy food.
From honing her entrepreneurial skills to support her family’s business at the tender age of 11 to heading up an internationally acclaimed travel agency from its head offices in Rivonia, Travel With Flair joint founder and managing director Johanna Mukoki is making waves in the world of business.
With a Rhodes University Bcom degree in one hand and steely determination in the other, Mukoki made her bones doing her articles as a member of the KPMG (Aiken & Peat) Audit, Tax and Advisory firm before beginning her own foray into the world of entrepreneurship.