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15 Interesting Facts About Elon Musk as a South African

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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While many may know Elon Musk as the richest man in the world or the CEO of Tesla and many other tech innovations, still others know him for some interesting facts such as his witty side when it comes to Internal Relations but there are many other interesting facts about the billionaire that some are not aware of.

Picture Source-Instagram

In this article, we will look through 15 interesting facts about Elon Musk, spanning from his music production, purchase of a James Bond Car and even his status of being a school drop-out among other fascinating details.

Musk is from South Africa

Elon Musk was born in 1971, in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. He is from the affluent Musk family.

He initially lived in Pretoria before relocating to Canada at the age of 18, where he obtained citizenship through his mother, who was born in Canada.

A Tesla Car-Picture Source: Instagram

In 2016, Musk co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company, with an initial investment of $100 million.

Neuralink’s objective is to seamlessly integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence (AI) through the development of brain-embedded devices, facilitating a synergy between the brain and machines.

This technology holds the potential to enhance memory and enable communication between devices and software.

Additionally, Neuralink aspires to create devices for the treatment of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and spinal cord injuries.

Meanwhile, Tesla, headquartered in Austin, Texas, is an American multinational automotive and clean energy company.

Tesla specializes in the design, manufacturing, and sale of electric vehicles, stationary battery energy storage devices for both home and grid-scale applications, as well as solar panels, solar shingles, and associated products and services.

Elon Musk serves as the CEO of Neuralink, SpaceX, and Tesla.

Musk co-founded PayPal

Picture Sourec-Instagram

In 1999, Elon Musk played a key role in the founding of X.com, an online financial services and payment company.

He invested $12 million from the proceeds of the Compaq acquisition into this venture. In 2000, a strategic move was made as X.com merged with the online bank Confinity.

Confinity’s money-transfer service, PayPal, had gained more popularity compared to X.com’s service. Musk assumed the role of CEO.

However, internal discord emerged due to Elon Musk’s preference for Microsoft over Unix-based software, leading to tensions among employees and the eventual resignation of Confinity co-founder Peter Thiel.

Compounded by technological challenges and a lack of a coherent business model, Musk was ousted from his position, and Thiel took over.

Under Thiel’s leadership, the company redirected its focus to the money-transfer service and change the name to PayPal in 2001.

In 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion in stock. Musk, being the largest shareholder in PayPal with 11.72% of shares, received $175.8 million from the acquisition.

Musk is the president of the Musk Foundation

Elon and Maye Musk- Picture Source: Instagram

Musk serves as the president of the Musk Foundation, an organization he established in 2001 with a mission to provide solar-power energy systems in disaster-stricken areas, support research, development, and advocacy in various areas such as human space exploration, pediatrics, renewable energy, and “safe artificial intelligence,” and contribute to science and engineering educational initiatives.

Up until 2020, the foundation has made a total of 350 donations, with approximately half directed towards scientific research or educational nonprofits.

Recipients include notable organizations like the Wikimedia Foundation, Musk’s alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and his brother Kimbal’s nonprofit, Big Green.

Over the period from 2002 to 2018, the foundation directly contributed $25 million to various nonprofit organizations.

Musk is into music

In April 2019, Musk released a rap track titled “RIP Harambe” through Emo G Records on SoundCloud.

The song, which touches upon the controversial killing of the gorilla Harambe and the subsequent Internet frenzy it sparked, was performed by Yung Jake, written by Yung Jake and Caroline Polachek, and produced by BloodPop.

The subsequent year saw Musk’s venture into the EDM genre with the release of a track titled “Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe,” where he contributed both the lyrics and vocals.

Musk is into movies too

Musk served as a partial inspiration for the portrayal of Tony Stark in the Marvel film Iron Man (2008).

Additionally, he made a cameo appearance in the film’s 2010 sequel, Iron Man 2. Musk has also made appearances in other films, including Machete Kills (2013) and Men in Black: International (2019).

His presence extends to television series such as “The Simpsons” (2015), and Young Sheldon (2017), among others.

Elon Musk is a School Drop-Out

Kimbal Musk-Picture Source: Instgram

In 1995, Elon Musk relocated to California to enroll at Stanford University. Nevertheless, he chose to drop out just two days into his academic journey.

Alongside his brother Kimbal, he then co-founded the online city guide software company Zip2.

He has many children

Maye Musk and her grandkids- Picture Source: Instagram

Musk has 10 surviving children. Tragically, in 2002, his first child with Canadian author Justine Wilson died of sudden infant death syndrome at the age of 10 weeks.

Following this heartbreaking loss, the couple opted for IVF to expand their family. They welcomed twins in 2004, followed by triplets in 2006. However, the couple divorced in 2008, and they shared custody of their children.

In 2018, Musk gave birth to their son in May 2020 with musician Grimes.

In December 2021, they welcomed a second child, a daughter named Exa Dark Sideræl Musk born via surrogacy.

In September 2023, it was reported that the pair had a third child, a son named Techno Mechanicus “Tau” Musk.

Additionally, in July 2022, court documents revealed that Musk had fathered twins with Shivon Zilis, as reported by Insider.

He has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome

The tech mogul has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which is a milder form of autism characterized by traits such as a detailed focus on topics of interest and challenges with social interactions.

Reflecting on his experience growing up with the syndrome in 2022, Musk shared, “I think everyone’s experience is going to be somewhat different, but I guess for me, the social cues were not intuitive. I was just very bookish, and I didn’t understand these.”

His mom is a model

Maye Musk-Picture Source: Instagram

His mother, Maye Musk, is a model and dietitian born in Saskatchewan, Canada, and raised in South Africa.

Maye Musk is currently the oldest “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit cover model, achieving this at the age of 74.

In addition to her modeling career, she is also Covergirl’s makeup model.

He has a James Bond car

In 2013, Musk acquired a Lotus Esprit for nearly $1 million. This particular 1976 version had been transformed into an underwater car for James Bond in the movie “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

Later, Musk acknowledged that he drew inspiration from this unique car when designing the Tesla Cybertruck.

Elon Musk wasn’t the founder of Tesla

Picture Source-Instagram

Originally named Tesla Motors, the company was incorporated in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who provided funding until the Series A round.

Both were actively involved in the company’s early development before Elon Musk’s entry.

Musk led the Series A round of investment in February 2004, investing $6.5 million, becoming the majority shareholder, and serving as chairman on Tesla’s board of directors.

While Musk played a significant role in overseeing Roadster product design, his involvement in day-to-day business operations was limited.

Due to escalating conflicts in 2007, Eberhard was removed from the company. Musk assumed the role of CEO in 2008.

As of 2019, Musk held the record for being the longest-tenured CEO among all global automotive manufacturers.

He has a witty almost eccentric side

Picture Source-Instagram

Musk’s statements have often sparked controversy, notably when he mocked preferred gender pronouns and drew comparisons between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Adolf Hitler.

The New York Times characterizes his impact on international relations as “chaotic.”

Described as an eccentric figure, Musk tends to make spontaneous and controversial statements, a departure from the more reserved approach favored by other billionaires who prioritize privacy to safeguard their businesses.

He founded The Boring Company

In 2017, Musk established the Boring Company with the goal of constructing tunnels.

He unveiled plans for specialized, subterranean, high-occupancy vehicles capable of reaching speeds up to 150 miles per hour (240 km/h), offering an alternative to congested above-ground traffic in major cities.

The Los Angeles tunnel, measuring 3.2 km, as showcased to journalists in 2018, using Tesla Model Xs.

However, reports indicated a somewhat rough ride experience at suboptimal speeds.

He’s the richest man in the world

Picture Source-Instagram

As of December 2023, Elon Musk holds the title of the wealthiest person globally, boasting an estimated net worth of US$232 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Also, Forbes reports an even higher figure of $254 billion.

Overall, The bulk of Musk’s wealth is attributed to his ownership stakes in Tesla and SpaceX.

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Peremoboere Numa
Peremoboere Numa

Pere is a versatile SEO writer with a Master's degree in English, who is dedicated to creating engaging and impactful content.

She excels in weaving content that not only informs, enlightens and impacts but but also optimize its online presence to rank on major web sites.

Pere brings a unique blend of linguistic proficiency and SEO knowledge, ensuring that each piece she crafts leave a lasting impact.

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