Richard Maponya came from a very humble background, growing up on a farm in Limpopo and herding cattle as a youngster. Though he was born in 1920, his ID indicated his birth year as 1926.

This was what friend and associate 81-year-old Estelle Bester explained. As an expert on Soweto property management, Bester helped Maponya in sorting out some of his old properties, updating information and registering the title deeds. As a fluent Sotho speaker Ma Bester and Ntate Maponya never spoke English except when reviewing technical documents.

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