(Article published courtesy of Leader.co.za)
One of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, Patrice Motsepe, is excited by a wave of new African entrepreneurs who he believes will help the continent unlock its many opportunities.
Named as South Africa's wealthiest man in the Sunday Times Rich List, Motsepe believes the next two decades will be about Africa and doing business in Africa.
"There is a new generation of Africans that have studied in different places such as France, the US and the UK, and who have returned to the continent with a wealth of experience and knowledge.
"I am excited when I meet these people across the continent and believe that they will provide the energy, passion and enthusiasm to drive Africa forward. The future of this continent is looking very promising in the hands of these dynamic entrepreneurs."
Regarding South Africa, he said: "We have a country of exceptional business and entrepreneurial talent in both the black and the white communities and we should build on that going forward not as black and white, but as South African business.
"The strength of this country is its people."
Motsepe was born and bred to be an entrepreneur. His father, Augustine Motsepe, owned a small grocery store and later a restaurant and liquor hall frequented by mine workers in the Hammanskraal area. This childhood environment gave the young Motsepe his first exposure to two of his life's biggest passions: business and mining. A third one is football.
"My father use to say that the family made a lot more money when I worked behind the counter, which I was doing from the time I was about five years old. But I realised very soon that I didn't want to be behind that counter my whole life. That is why I went to study law in the end."
Motsepe became the first black partner in corporate law firm Bowman Gilfillan. Later he began building the first black-owned mining business in the country, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM). ARMgold, formed in 1997 and listed on the JSE in 2002, merged with Harmony in 2003 and this ultimately led to the takeover of Anglovaal Mining.
ARM has interests in gold, ferrous metals, base metals, coal and platinum, and Motsepe was worth about R23-billion at last count.
A constant stream of people came up to greet him and to take his photos as we proceeded to the private dining area at the Sandton Sun Hotel to discuss his latest meeting with the Black Business Council (BBC).
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