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Patrice Motsepe is a South African entrepreneur and businessman, prominently known for being the first black billionaire in Africa and his home country South Africa. According to the Forbes Billionaire List, Patrice Motsepe presently has an estimated net worth of $2.6 Billion, which he majorly made through his mining business, now known as the African Rainbow Minerals (ARM). Here is the story of Patrice Motsepe, how he acquired his fortune and became the first black billionaire on the continent of Africa.
Patrice Motsepe’s Background
Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe was born on January 28, 1962, in the apartheid era. He grew up in a financially stable home with his father, Augustine Motsepe, a chief of the Tswana people and schoolteacher, who later became a successful liquor distributor for South African breweries.
As a young man, Patrice worked in his father’s liquor store where he learned business management skills. Patrice father’s store was quite popular and many black mine workers patronized them. Patrice exposure to these mine workers led to his interest in mining
After secondary school, he studied Law at the University of Swaziland, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and he furthered his education by getting another degree in law from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
After his law degree, Patrice Motsepe worked with a law firm, in which he later became a partner. In 1992, he left his job to start a mining business which he registered as “Future Mine” in 1994. Worthy of note is that he benefited from South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) laws, which were created to involve more black South Africans in the economy. The law made it quite easy for him to get a mining license for his company.
In 1997, Patrice Motsepe bought a gold mine that was not performing well financially and he made it profitable. He then merged his company with Avmin and Harmony Gold to form African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), where he became the executive chairman. His company which initially started with gold mining has now expanded to ferrous, base metals mining, and even platinum! it is said that he has a Midas touch, as ARM has now become an umbrella for many mining subsidiaries and joint ventures. He also started a private firm, African Rainbow Capital in 2016; the private firm is mainly focused on African investment.
Aside from his investment in the mining and resources business, Patrice Motsepe is also a prominent football administrator and sports investor. He is the owner of Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. a Premier soccer league club and has a majority stakeholder in the Blue Bulls Rugby Union He is also currently the president of the Confederation of African Football; he was elected in March 2021. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is the administrative body for football, beach soccer, and futsal in Africa. CAF is the organizer of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)
Net Worth and Billionaire Status
Patrice Motsepe became more prominent after he became the first black African Billionaire in 2008, with an estimated net worth of $1 Billion. He has since then maintained his position on the Forbes list as one of the richest men on the African continent. His net worth has since then grown over the years, such that he became the richest man in South Africa in 2012, and accumulating as much as $3.3 Billion in 2022.
However Every businessman experiences loss at some point, and so does Patrice Motsepe; in 2023 Patrice lost $900 million. His loss was attributed to a decline in the market value of his equity investment. This loss caused his worth to dip to $2.3 billion however, he bounced back in 2024 with a net worth of $2.6 billion, as of January 2024.
Patrice Motsepe’s contribution to society
In 2013, Patrice signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, agreeing to give at least half of his pledge to charity. He was the first African to join the initiative. The initiative was created to encourage wealthy individuals to give back to society. He created the Motsepe Foundation, a foundation that focuses on poverty alleviation of poor and marginalized South African citizens. His foundation focused on making hefty donations to education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.
Patrice Motsepe has won several awards including South Africa’s Business Leader of the Year, voted by CEOs of South Africa’s top 100 companies (2002); South Africa’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year, Ernst & Young (2002), Africa Philanthropy Award, African Philanthropy Forum (2014), Africa Philanthropy Award (2014), etc. His entrepreneurial journey is an inspiration to several young Africans as it demonstrates resilience and possibilities in the entrepreneurship journey.