Raymond Ackerman, the visionary founder of Pick n Pay, has passed away at the age of 92.
In 1967, this retail luminary embarked on a remarkable journey alongside his wife Wendy, acquiring four stores in Cape Town to establish the iconic Pick n Pay brand.
What began as a modest venture grew exponentially over the ensuing 56 years, expanding its footprint to encompass more than 2,000 stores spread across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Nigeria, Eswatini, and Lesotho.
The Ackerman legacy in the world of retail was deeply rooted, with Raymond’s father founding Ackermans after World War 1.
Raymond himself made headlines with his tenacity, famously launching 26 legal battles against government policies related to petrol price reductions, albeit with mixed outcomes.
In a pivotal moment in South African history, in 1989, Ackerman joined a consortium of influential businessmen in meeting with then-President FW de Klerk shortly after his inauguration.
They boldly called for the release of Nelson Mandela, setting the stage for significant political change in the nation.
Raymond Ackerman’s commitment to nurturing entrepreneurship was unwavering.
In 2004, he partnered with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and later the University of Johannesburg to establish the Raymond Ackerman Academy for Entrepreneurial Development.
This institution has since fostered the growth of numerous budding business owners, leaving an indelible mark on the entrepreneurial landscape.
In 2010, Raymond and Wendy decided to pass the torch, retiring from the board of Pick n Pay Stores Limited while assuming the prestigious roles of honorary life presidents.
Ackerman’s connection to education extended beyond his academy, as he was an alumnus of Bishops Diocesan College, where he eventually became the president and later the patron of the Old Diocesan Union.
Raymond Ackerman’s contributions were celebrated both locally and abroad, evident in the seven honorary doctorates he received from esteemed universities.
Raymond Ackerman is survived by his loving wife, Wendy, their children Gareth, Kathy, Suzanne, and Jonathan, as well as their 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
His legacy as a pioneer in the retail industry and a champion of entrepreneurship will continue to inspire generations to come.
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