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Father of Black Business, Dr. Samuel Motsuenyane, Dies at 97 | Rateweb
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Father of Black Business, Dr. Samuel Motsuenyane, Dies at 97

Dr. Samuel Motsuenyane, a towering figure in South Africa’s business landscape and affectionately known as the “Father of Black Business,” has passed away at the age of 97. His departure marks the end of an era characterized by resilience, entrepreneurship, and a steadfast commitment to ethical business practices. Public Interest SA, in a statement released on April 29, 2024, confirmed his peaceful passing, noting the indelible impact he leaves behind.

Dr. Motsuenyane’s legacy is one of pioneering spirit and visionary leadership. As a founding member of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) in 1964, he laid the groundwork for amplifying the voice of Black business in South Africa. Nafcoc’s inception was not merely an organizational feat but a catalyst for socio-economic empowerment, envisioning a future where Black entrepreneurs could thrive and contribute meaningfully to the nation’s economy.

A significant milestone in Dr. Motsuenyane’s journey was the establishment of African Bank, conceived during Nafcoc’s inaugural meeting in Soweto. Recognizing the systemic barriers that hindered Black individuals from accessing financial services, African Bank emerged as a beacon of hope. With a modest capital of R70, Dr. Motsuenyane, serving as the bank’s founding chairman, spearheaded its inception in 1975. This marked a pivotal moment in South Africa’s financial landscape, symbolizing a triumph over adversity and a testament to the power of collective action.

Beyond his contributions to business, Dr. Motsuenyane’s legacy extended into the realm of politics and diplomacy. Retiring from Nafcoc in 1992, he transitioned into parliamentary roles, where he served as the leader of the house of senate. His diplomatic tenure as South Africa’s first ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1996 to 2000 underscored his versatility and commitment to fostering international relations.

In the wake of his passing, tributes from across the nation have poured in, reflecting on Dr. Motsuenyane’s profound influence. Tebogo Khaas, chair of Public Interest SA and chief entrepreneur at the Institute of Chartered Entrepreneurs, remarked, “As the sun sets on Ntate Motsuenyane’s earthly journey, we find solace in the knowledge that his legacy will continue to shape the future of entrepreneurship in South Africa.”

The Dr. Sam Motsuenyane Foundation echoed this sentiment, highlighting his tireless advocacy for economic self-sufficiency. Through grassroots mobilization and unwavering dedication, Dr. Motsuenyane galvanized Black communities to contribute towards the capitalization of African Bank, paving the way for economic empowerment.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also paid tribute to Dr. Motsuenyane, acknowledging the multifaceted nature of his contributions. “The remarkable sweep of his life as an entrepreneur, leader of organized business, parliamentarian, and diplomat among other roles embodied our resilient national character and values of ubuntu,” remarked President Ramaphosa. He further emphasized Dr. Motsuenyane’s enduring legacy, enshrined in South Africa’s constitutional rights and socio-economic frameworks.

Dr. Samuel Motsuenyane’s passing marks the end of an illustrious chapter in South Africa’s history, but his legacy will continue to resonate for generations to come. As the nation mourns his loss, there is a collective determination to honor his memory by advancing the principles of entrepreneurship, economic empowerment, and ethical leadership that he tirelessly championed throughout his lifetime.