Back to top

Ms Marina Nompinti Maponya (Posthumous)

The Order of the Baobab in

Ms Marina Nompinti Maponya (Posthumous) Awarded for:
Her exceptional contribution to the field of entrepreneurship at a time when economic development for the majority was proscribed. Her selfless giving to poor communities remains her legacy.
Profile of Ms Marina Nompinti Maponya

Ms Marina Nompinti Maponya was born on 29 November 1934 in Sophiatown. She qualified as a social worker and practised her profession for a short while before joining her husband, Richard Maponya, in business in the late 1950s.

Maponya soon became a strong and astute business partner to her husband; establishing solid building blocks of the Maponya enterprises and contributing immensely to the growth of the business from dairy to general dealer, restaurant, butchery and later supermarkets, liquor stores, fuel retail and motor retail.

She was a mentor to many entrepreneurs and often gave advice on business to both men and women, young and old. Her leadership was recognised both locally and globally. She was recognised with the Business Woman of the Year Award in 1982. Maponya was a social worker at heart. She was a community leader, community builder and a philanthropist who was extensively involved in uplifting her community.

She had a special interest in caring for the aged and children. In addition to providing food parcels to many poor families, she also made sure their health needs were taken care of and that their children attended school.

She was a member of the Black Housewives’ League, which sought to build a strong moral fibre in black communities. She also served on the boards of the then Cripple Care Society, Phillip Kushlick School and Johannesburg Child Welfare. She was instrumental in the building of Othandweni in Soweto, a facility for homeless children.

Maponya was a devout member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and became involved in the leadership structures of the Women’s Missionary Service. She was a compassionate person and a formidable businesswoman, a selfless community leader, a loving mother and committed wife. Those who knew her say “she was an Angel among us”.