African Bank commemorates its original founder and names new Learning Centre in his honour

Described as Soweto’s most humble giant, a paragon of township business, a champion of transformation and a giant who defied apartheid, business icon Dr Richard Maponya’s proud legacy will remain etched in the hearts and minds of so many South Africans. 

Basani Maluleke, CEO of African Bank, added her voice and that of everyone at African Bank to the many tributes pouring in for this much admired champion of black business. Maluleke says without Maponya’s vision, bravery and strong entrepreneurial spirit, the dream of a bank for black people would never have become possible in 1975. African Bank launched its first branch in 1975 in Pretoria’s Ga-Rankua. Today African Bank has 394 branches. “We salute and thank you, together with fellow entrepreneurs Sam Motsuenyane, Reverend Joe Hlongwane and Archie Nkonyeni for believing in a dream and throughout your life continuing to be committed to creating jobs and countering unemployment.”

“We will also never forget the critical role Ntate Maponya played in influencing BEE policy and transforming township business when he became founding president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry which so successfully championed the interests of black business during apartheid.”


Maluleke said throughout all the changes at African Bank, the bank had remained true to Maponya’s initial vision and today its primary purpose remains that of advancing lives of its people and the communities it serves. Maponya’s dream of delivering economic freedom lives on in African Bank and is underwritten by a strong culture and significant investment in learning and development.  “In today’s fast changing world, an agile learning organisation such as ours, is a critical tool in driving much-needed transformation and digitisation of our bank. This year we will proudly be opening a dedicated Learning Centre which we would like to name “The Richard Maponya Learning Centre” in tribute to Ntate Maponya. It will provide a positive enabling environment which will serve as a reminder and inspiration for all of our staff and young learners.”

On behalf of African Bank, Maluleke extended her heartfelt condolences to the Maponya family. “We mourn the passing of an icon but join all South Africans in celebrating a life well lived,” she concludes.