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Visionary South African Business Giant, Raymond Ackerman Dies at 92

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The world mourns the loss of respected South African business titan, Raymond Ackerman, who transformed the retail sector through his firm focus on customer service, social responsibility, and opposition to apartheid. Ackerman passed away at the age of 92, leaving behind a legacy that remains etched in the annals of South Africa’s business history.

Born into a family of retailers, Ackerman founded Pick n Pay in 1967. Today, Pick n Pay Group serves millions of customers across South Africa and seven other African countries, boasting over 2,000 stores. Ackerman's guiding principle throughout his journey was that "the customer is queen", a value he attributed to the long-standing success of his business empire.

However, Ackerman's contribution extended beyond the world of shopping. A committed philanthropist, he was instrumental in promoting employees to managerial positions, defying the apartheid laws of the 1960s. His active involvement in the Urban Foundation and his advocacy for equal opportunity policies made him a revered figure within South Africa's social fabric.

In addition to his business achievements, Ackerman fostered a warm relationship with Nelson Mandela post his release from prison. Ackerman also made commendable strides towards developing South Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape, establishing the Raymond Ackerman Academy for Entrepreneurial Development in 2004. Till now, the academy has produced hundreds of new business owners and employed over 400 graduates.

Throughout his lifetime, Ackerman was honored extensively, receiving seven honorary doctorates from local and international universities. His relentless optimism about South Africa’s future, humble nature, and commitment to fostering justice are characteristics that will continue to inspire generations even after his passing.

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