Elon Musk: Six things you didn’t know about the Pretoria-born billionaire

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Elon Musk is many things, but the word “divisive” might be the best word to describe him recently. South Africa’s homegrown genius has a habit of rubbing people up the wrong way.

For every stunning technological development he’s responsible for at Tesla and SpaceX, there’s his inability to understand where his help is needed. For every time he made space travel cool again, he’s gone and put his foot in his mouth terribly.

Still, when you’re one of the richest men on the planet, it doesn’t really matter what you say, does it? A hefty legal settlement is hardly going to give Musk nightmares. He’s a maverick alright, if not a little… different. So we thought we’d have a quick look at some of the lesser-facts about the tech titan:

Six strange, weird and little-known facts about
Elon Musk:

Elon Musk’s net worth

Business Insider estimate he’s worth $23.6 billion – that’s roughly R350 billion. He has some way to go if he wants to reach the heights of the world’s richest man, however. Jeff Bezos is worth $160 billion, which is an eye-watering R2.4 trillion. He could lose 99.5% of his wealth and still be a billionaire.

Using his name can get you locked out of Twitter

Oh boy, this was problematic. When users of the social media site changed their display names to “Elon Musk”, they found shortly afterwards that their accounts were locked. Many cried foul, claiming it was a conspiracy to stop his detractors from mocking him.

However, the real reason behind the blocks was due to something way more sinister. Fake accounts and bots often create accounts with “Elon Musk” as their display names, and send fake links to cryptocurrency and investment schemes that serve only to steal the money of their visitors. Stay woke, kids.

Failure has been an option

Musk hasn’t climbed the ladder of success without falling off a few times. He had previously failed to secure a dream job at Netscape in 1995, shortly after his move to America. He was very aware of the internet’s potential and wanted to get his foot in the door of these early pioneers.

He also dropped out of Stanford College in his first year. Musk is the living proof that success isn’t easily achieved. So the next time you don;’t get the job, just think of it this way: You’ve taken the first step on your way towards billionaire status.

Does Elon Musk dislike South Africa?

He is never in a rush to come home. America has been good to him, but he very rarely makes it back to his old stomping ground. As Fin24 reported back in 2015, The intense bullying he received at Bryanston High seemed to influence his decision to emigrate at the age of 17.

After being kicked in the head, pushed down the stairs and beaten further, Musk was relocated to Pretoria High, but it didn’t do much to alter his perceptions. It’s alleged the school asked him for a R1 million grant, and he agreed – but only on the condition that they never contact him again.

Plenty of drama in the family

Elon has labelled his dad Errol as “evil”. Why, we hear you say? Strap in for this one.

Musk Snr – aged 72 – has recently admitted to being in a relationship with his own stepdaughter. He’s also fathered a child with Jana Bezuidenhout, who is 42 years his junior. Needless to say, Errol’s relationship with Mae is non-existent, and the family have been divided by the situation.

At one point, his parents suspected he was deaf

When he was a young boy, Mr and Mrs Musk would fail to get his attention by calling him. They feared he was going deaf. It was only after having his adenoids removed that the family realised he was just deep into daydreaming, rather than losing his hearing/

“He goes into his brain, and then you just see he is in another world” – that’s what entrepreneur.com report his mother Mae as saying about his willful ignorance. Although, his parents did give him the middle-name “Reeve”: Elon Reeve Musk. He probably had good reason to just simply give them the silent treatment.

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