Patrice Motsepe: South Africa’s first black industrialist and billionaire

Theodora Aidoo January 20, 2020
Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe, the first black African on the Forbes list of world billionaires - Pic Credit: Jonathan Burton/File

Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe is a South African mining magnate who became a billionaire in 2008. He is the first black African on the Forbes list of world billionaires.

Motsepe, 53, bought low-producing gold mine shafts in 1997 and turned them into profitable ventures in a year. Today, he is number 10 on the Forbes list of Africa’s Billionaires 2020.

Motsepe is South Africa‘s first black industrialist and billionaire. He said he was inspired by his grandfather and father, who were both entrepreneurs as well as his mother, a businesswoman who ran the family business at the time.

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.

Motsepe is the founder of 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.

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He is also the founder of African Rainbow capital, African Rainbow Energy and Power and has been acknowledged by Forbes as one of the “100 Greatest Living Business Minds” in the world.

For Motsepe who is also a member of the Board of Directors at insurance company, Salnam, he believes that a lot of hard work, sacrifices and persistence has gotten him where he is today.

Apart from being an international business man, Motsepe is an expert in governance, law and compliance. He is also the founder and chair of Ubunto-Botho Investments

In a recent interview with CNN, the African billionaire stated that 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.

He said it took many years of looking at which opportunity to explore and he realized that his country did not have a history of small scale mining. Then he decided to venture into small scale mining.

Motsepe has a BA law degree (University of Swaziland), LLB (Wits University), Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) (Wits University), Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) (Stellenbosch University), Doctor of Management and Commerce (honoris causa) (Fort Hare) and Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) (University of Eswatini, formerly University of Swaziland).

He was a partner in one of the largest law firms in South Africa, Bowmans, and was also a visiting attorney in the USA with McGuireWoods.

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Dr 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).

Dr Motsepe is a recipient of numerous business and leadership awards and recognitions, including the Sunday Times Lifetime Achiever Award, 2017.

His love for Sports led him to own the national soccer champions and in 2009, Motsepe acquired a 37% stake in the Blue Bulls Co., South Africa’s Top Rugby Team.

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; support projects that have the potential to assist beneficiaries to become self-reliant and building non-racialism in South Africa; promote respect for diversity and encourage all races and all people of different faiths and cultures to move forward.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: January 20, 2020


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