Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who was born in Pretoria, bought micro-blogging platform Twitter, confirmed by the company on Monday 25 April.
The billionaire did not have the easiest childhood but went on to become the richest man in the world. Here’s a look at how he went from being bullied in Pretoria to buying Twitter.
ELON MUSK WAS BULLIED AS A CHILD IN PRETORIA
Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa on 28 June 1971. His parents are South African engineer Errrol Musk and Canadian-South African model and dietician Maye Musk.
Errol and Maye divorced in 1979 and Elon and his brother Kimbal decided to live with their father. However, Elon had a troubled relationship with his dad but he was not short of money while in South Africa.
At the age of 12, the billionaire sold a simple game called “Blastar” to a computer magazine. Money may not have been a problem but Elon was once hospitalised after being beaten up by bullies in school. He was reportedly thrown down a flight of stairs and beaten up until he blacked out.
He matriculated at Pretoria Boys High School and then moved to Canada where he studied at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. While being a university student, the billionaire and his classmate rented out a 10-bedroom frat house and turned it into a nightclub. Elon and his brother Kimbal launched Zip2 – A company that provided and licensed online city guide software to newspapers.
While the company got off the ground Elon lived in the office and showered at a local YMCA. The company was later bought for $341 million (over R4 billion) in cash and stock. According to Business Insider Elon earned $22 million (over R300 million)..
THE BILLIONAIRE’S SUCCESS AND BUYING TWITTER
Elon thereafter started an online banking company called X.com. The company later merged with Confinity to form PayPal where the billionaire was named CEO. However, he was later fired.
eBay then bought PayPal, and as the company’s biggest single shareholder he made $165 million (over R2 billion) of the $1.5 billion price eBay paid. In 2002, he started SpaceX with $100 million (R1.5 billion) he received from the eBay buyout.
In 2004, Elon made his first investment in Tesla Motors and he helped develop their first car, the Roadster. However, the company was not doing that well until he personally invested his own money to save the company from bankruptcy in 2008. He was named CEO the same year.
The Tesla CEO bested Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world in 2021. He has since bought Twitter.
After putting up a little fight, Twitter agreed to Musk’s R690 billion bid to buy Twitter on Monday 25 April. The billionaire says his plan for the micro-blogging platform is to promote free speech.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Musk in a statement.
“Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it,” he continued.
Many were wondering what Musk meant by “free speech” and he explained, via a tweet. Take a look…