Patrice Motsepe is a South African billionaire with a net worth of $2.7 billion. In 2008, he became the first Black African to be featured on the Forbes list of world billionaires at the age of 46. He is also the first South African industrialist and billionaire.
In a CNN interview, Motsepe said his first passion was entrepreneurship. “Growing up in a business environment in a family, standing behind conflicts at a young age, and I wanted to pursue my first passion which was entrepreneurship,” he said.
Despite his success and influence in South Africa and Africa at large, not much is known about Motsepe.
Below are eleven things to know about the South African billionaire.
- He comes from a family of entrepreneurs
Motsepe comes from a family of entrepreneurs, which made his journey in the business world seem like a natural path. His grandfather and father were both entrepreneurs. His father, who was chief of the Mmakau branch of the Tswana people, was a schoolteacher and later became a businessman as the owner of a Spaza shop which was frequented by mine workers. It was from this shop that Motsepe gained exposure to the mining industry and had an opportunity to learn key business skills from his father that would shape his success. His mother, Key Motsepe, was also a businesswoman who ran the family business at the time.
- He made his money from mining
Motsepe is a mining magnate. According to him, it took many years to identify which opportunity to pursue and he realized that his country did not have a history of small-scale mining. This inspired him to venture into small-scale mining. He bought low-producing gold mine shafts in 1997 and turned them into profitable ventures in a year. Motsepe owns African Rainbow Minerals Ltd (ARM). The company mines iron ore, manganese ore and alloys, platinum group metals, copper, nickel and coal. ARM also has an investment in gold.
- Once the first Black partner at one of Africa’s largest law firm
Apart from being an international businessman, Motsepe is an expert in governance, law and compliance. He was the first Black partner at one of the largest law firms in South Africa, Bowmans, and was also a visiting attorney in the USA with McGuireWoods.
- He is a sports investor
Motsepe, now 60, is also an avid sports investor, with major investments in football and rugby. The billionaire is the bankroller and founder of South African football club Mamelodi Sundowns. Sundowns plays in South Africa’s elite league and are one-time champions of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League. On the domestic front, they have won the South African Premiership a record 10 times. Also, he is the joint major shareholder with a 37 percent stake in the Pretoria-based Bulls, currently the most successful rugby team in South Africa.
- 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 an avid philanthropist. Through the Motsepe Foundation, founded in 1999, he is giving back to society. The foundation’s aim is to improve the quality of life for all, including the unemployed, women, youth workers and marginalized communities in South Africa. The Foundation also supports projects that have the potential to assist beneficiaries to become self-reliant and build non-racialism in South Africa; promote respect for diversity and encourage all races and all people of different faiths and cultures to move forward. In 2013, he also became the first African to sign Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, promising to give at least half his fortune to charity.
7. He has a strong educational background
Motsepe has a BA law degree from the University of Swaziland, and an LLB and a Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) from Wits University in South Africa. He also has a Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) from Stellenbosch University, Doctor of Management and Commerce (honoris causa) from Fort Hare University and Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the University of Eswatini, formerly 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 International Business Council (IBC) of the World Economic Forum, which is made up of 100 of the most highly respected and influential chief executives from all industries. He is also a member of the Harvard Global Advisory Council and the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), amongst others.
11. He is not a man without controversies
At the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Motsepe went under fire for publicly telling US President Donald Trump that “Africa loves him”. 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”.