Elon Musk, bullied at school in Pretoria, is now the richest person in the world

Arthur Greene

South African born Elon Musk, who was bullied as a schoolboy in Pretoria, has just become the richest person on the planet with a total wealth of $191 billion (almost three TRILLION Rand).

Musk runs the car company Tesla and SpaceX.

At the beginning of 2020, Musk was just the 35th richest human being, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.

However, after an astonishingly good year for Tesla in 2020, Musk overtook such giants as Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to claim the top spot.

Musk, however, has had a very different upbringing to any of these figures.

He was born in Pretoria in 1971 to a mother who was a model and a father who was an electromechanical engineer and property developer.

At school, Musk was a studious boy. He had an intense early interest in computing, teaching himself to read the languages of computer programming.

His bookishness, however, was not admired by his peers. He was badly bullied over several years, resulting in a two-week stay in hospital after he was thrown down a flight of stairs.

Out of hospital, he set his sights on relocating to America, the place he saw as the land of opportunity.

Once there, he exploded onto the world of internet startups.

He founded Paypal in 1998 and SpaceX in 2002.

However, his investment in a little-known electric car company called Tesla made him – and made electric cars a reality.

The company is now worth more than Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, GM and Ford combined.

With his extraordinary wealth, Musk intends “to help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars to ensure continuation of life (of all species) in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens & we destroy ourselves.”

Picture source: @malikofori