Original Research

Unravelling the makings for entrepreneurial success: A case study of the Maponya business in South Africa

Patrick Ssekitoleko, Yvonne du Plessis
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 13, No 1 | a424 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v13i1.424 | © 2021 Patrick Ssekitoleko, Yvonne du Plessis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 March 2021 | Published: 27 July 2021

About the author(s)

Patrick Ssekitoleko, Business School, Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, North-West University, Mahikeng, South Africa
Yvonne du Plessis, Business School, Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, North-West University, Mahikeng, South Africa


Background: The achievement of local entrepreneurial success in South Africa is projected to reduce widespread unemployment in the townships, enhance the general buying power and upraise the overall productivity and living standards of poor South Africans. However, most entrepreneurial ventures do not survive for long, and remarkably the number of self-established, privately owned and long-standing businesses amongst black South Africans is very few.

Aim: To investigate the factors that have led to the success and longevity of the Maponya business case.

Setting: This research focused on a privately owned, self-initiated black South African successful business, which has been in existence for at least six decades.

Methods: A qualitative research approach of a descriptive and explanatory single case study design was utilised using data from a semi-structured interview guide. Thematic and content analysis were used in the data analysis process.

Results and findings: It was found that the Maponya business case is a family-controlled type of business. The success and longevity of the Maponya business case are attributable to the closeness of members within the Maponya family or clan. Access to membership is well controlled and requires adherence to a set of values based on one another to prosper in business.

Conclusion: The documented findings can serve as a template for understanding the operationalisation of management techniques and leadership principles for entrepreneurial success and longevity in business for black South Africans and illuminate business prowess for the Southern African region and the entire African continent.


black entrepreneurial success; entrepreneurship; family entrenchment; family business; Maponya business; South Africa.


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Crossref Citations

1. Evaluating the capacity of rural-based South African stakeholders in the transformation of small, medium-sized and micro-enterprises
Tshililo R. Farisani
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doi: 10.4102/sajems.v25i1.4592