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Maponya has shown the way on beating odds

My 25 November 2014 column in Business Day:

THE library in our home was eclectic, reflecting the tastes of the two women who tried to have a normal life in Hammanskraal in the dying days of apartheid. My grandmother’s extensive collection of women’s magazines stood coyly next to my mother’s social science texts and novels.

Living in a small village rocked by its own traumas under a homeland leader who took himself too seriously, I tried to imagine what “central SA”, as we called it, must be like. Of course, we were close to Pretoria and Mamelodi, but it’s Soweto that came to mind when I thought about life beyond the bogus border post. When I tried to conjure up Soweto, I had Magubane’s desolate images for guidance. But I also had Enterprise and Tribute to thank for stories about men such as Richard Maponya. I knew, even back then, that there was more to our fragmented country than what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would call the “single story of catastrophe”.

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