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Namibian family businessman dies

By Giulia Cambieri

Harold Pupkewitz, who took over the family business founded by his father and turned it into one of Namibia’s biggest private companies, died on 27 April aged 96.

Pupkewitz, who according to reports in the local press died from a heart attack in the Roman Catholic Hospital of Windhoek, was the executive chairman of Pupkewitz Holding since it was founded in 1946.

Born in Vilnius, in what is now Lithuania in 1915, Pupkewitz and his family moved to South-West Africa (now Namibia) when he was nine.

In 1935, he graduated in commerce from the University of Cape Town and two years later joined the family business, a small store selling groceries and household products that his parents had established in 1926.

Under Pupkewitz’s leadership, the firm was incorporated and expanded to become a conglomerate spanning construction, real estate, automobiles and electronics.

Today Pupkewitz Holding controls Megacell, which is Namibia’s largest distributor of Apple, Samsung and Nokia products, and Pupkewitz Motors, the country’s biggest dealer of Toyota, Nissan and Honda vehicles.

One of Namibia’s wealthiest individuals, Pupkewitz was also well known for his philanthropic contributions, which included a donation of 10 million Namibian dollars (€982,800) to establish the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business at the Polytechnic of Namibia.

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