Patrice Motsepe is a South African billionaire with a $2.7 billion net worth. At the age of 46, he became the first Black African to appear on the Forbes list of world billionaires in 2008. He is also South Africa’s first industrialist and billionaire.
Motsepe stated in a CNN interview that his first passion was entrepreneurship. “Growing up in a business family, standing behind conflicts at a young age, and I wanted to pursue my first passion, which was entrepreneurship,” he explained.
Despite his success and influence in South Africa and throughout Africa, very little is known about Motsepe.
Below are five things to know about the South African billionaire.
- He comes from a family of entrepreneurs
Motsepe comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so his path to the business world seemed natural. His grandfather and father were both business owners. His father, the chief of the Tswana people’s Mmakau branch, was a schoolteacher who later became a businessman as the owner of a Spaza shop frequented by mine workers. Motsepe gained exposure to the mining industry and had the opportunity to learn key business skills from his father, which would shape his success, from this shop. Key Motsepe, his mother, was a businesswoman who ran the family’s business at the time.
- He made his money from mining
Motsepe is a mining tycoon. It took him many years to figure out which opportunity to pursue, and he realized that his country had no history of small-scale mining. This sparked his interest in small-scale mining. In 1997, he purchased low-producing gold mine shafts and turned them into profitable ventures within a year. African Rainbow Minerals Ltd is owned by Motsepe (ARM). Iron ore, manganese ore and alloys, platinum group metals, copper, nickel, and coal are all mined by the company. ARM also has a gold investment.
- Once the first Black partner at one of Africa’s largest law firm
Motsepe is an expert in governance, law, and compliance, in addition to being an international businessman. He was the first Black partner at Bowmans, one of South Africa’s largest law firms, and a visiting attorney with McGuireWoods in the United States.
- He is a sports investor
Motsepe, who is now 60, is also an avid sports investor, with significant holdings in football and rugby. The billionaire is the owner and founder of Mamelodi Sundowns, a South African football club. Sundowns competes in South Africa’s top division and is a former champion of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League. On the domestic front, they have a record ten South African Premiership titles. He is also a joint major shareholder with a 37 percent stake in the Pretoria-based Bulls, South Africa’s most successful rugby team.
- He is the CAF President
Motsepe is the head of Africa’s football governing body, the Confederation of African Football (CAF). In 2021, he was elected as the seventh (7th) person to occupy the position of CAF President.
6. He is an avid philanthropist
Motsepe is a generous donor. He gives back to society through the Motsepe Foundation, which he established in 1999. The foundation’s goal is to improve the quality of life for all South Africans, including the unemployed, women, youth workers, and marginalized communities. The Foundation also supports projects that have the potential to assist beneficiaries in becoming self-sufficient and building non-racialism in South Africa; promote respect for diversity, and encourage all races, faiths, and cultures to progress. He was also the first African to sign Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, promising to donate at least half of his fortune to charity.
7. He has a strong educational background
Motsepe holds a BA in law from the University of Swaziland, as well as an LLB and a Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) from South Africa’s Wits University. He also holds a Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) degree from Stellenbosch University, a Doctor of Management and Commerce (honoris causa) degree from Fort Hare University, and a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) degree from the University of Eswatini, formerly the University of Swaziland.
8. He is a family man
Motsepe is married to Dr. Precious Makgosi Moloi. They met while they were both studying at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits). The couple has three sons, Thlopie, Kgosi and Kabelo Motsepe, all living together in Johannesburg.
9. He Believes in the Ubuntu Philosophy
In a CNN interview, Motsepe revealed that he abides by the South African philosophy of Ubuntu, which means “I am because you are.” According to him, his culture and tradition teaches him to assist and care for less fortunate and marginalized people.
10. He is a member of several international associations
Motsepe is a member of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council (IBC), which is comprised of 100 of the most highly respected and influential CEOs from all industries. He is a member of the Harvard Global Advisory Council, as well as the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).
11. He is not a man without controversies
Motsepe was chastised for publicly telling US President Donald Trump that “Africa loves him” at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos. The statement provoked much criticism throughout the African continent, and Motsepe later apologized saying “I do not have the right to speak on behalf of anybody except myself”.