Elon Musk has always dominated the news, but despite the intense media coverage of the world’s richest man, the start of the tech entrepreneur in apartheid South Africa remains unclear.
In the midst of a debate over his possible takeover of Twitter, his father Errol Musk, told AFP that he raised his sons the hard way, like “good boys in South Africa “, instilling in them strength and discipline from an early age. .
“I’m a strict father. My word is the law”, he assures, confirming that Elon’s ambition is nurtured by this education ready to be somewhat macho. “This is our way of being. We try to give the best of ourselves”, confident this 76-year-old man with a wrinkled face, receding hairline and iron look, in his beach house in Langebaan, near Cape Town. “It’s kind of our trademark.”
Elon Musk was born in Pretoria on June 28, 1971 to Errol, an engineer and real estate developer, and Maye, a Canadian model. He left South Africa at the height of apartheid, like many young people of that generation, to avoid unpopular military service.
After her parents ’severe divorce, Elon often lived with her father. At the age of nine, “I saw him come down bright one morning at the station, he was training alone at night”, after leaving his mother’s house, Errol said.
– Prankster without filter –
Elon always spoke of an unhappy childhood. And he distanced himself from his father when Errol gave birth in 2017 to the son of his ex -wife, his 42 -year -old younger brother. “Elon didn’t find it good. Me, I take life as it comes”, commented the father, assuring that since this breakup, their relationship has improved.
“We have a love for each other,” Errol Musk said. “I always remember how I was my own father. He was a soldier, we said very little. At lunch on Sunday, I said + hello dad +, he went to make his crossword puzzles”.
His relationship with Elon was “not very different”, he admitted.
Elon Musk’s controversies and outbursts, especially on Twitter, have become commonplace. But Errol said his son has always been special. “He’s an astute, playful kid”, who is willing to participate in conversations with adults. “Around the age of four, he was already settled down” to listen to political and business stories.
“One day, Elon announced that when he grows up, he will be a millionaire,” said his father, who was obviously amused. To a wild adult, whom he describes as having a drink and a cigarette in hand, laughs that “little” can be frustrating. “Elon’s answer was to answer him + well, I think you’re stupid +”.
“Typical Elon”, commented Errol Musk. “It’s his habit to tell people” their four truths, with no filter.
The father also remembers a hurtful comment Elon made to one of his classmates, whose father committed suicide. “The kid pushed him up the stairs,” Errol said, and Elon had to be hospitalized.
After the initial outrage, “when I heard what Elon said, I realized he had crossed the line”. After the incident, Errol admitted his son to the prestigious Pretoria Boys ’High School.
– “The friendliest” –
The billionaire was supposed to donate a million rand (60,000 euros) to the school but insisted that in return, the establishment never mentioned him in its promotional material, the South African press reported.
“This is a non -story,” said a former AFP director. He actually gave money twice but “a lot of nonsense has been written about him”, annoyed this gentleman who insisted he was not known.
He confronts Musk through his assistant. It was also through the same helper that his father also exchanged with him.
Musk’s communication is tightly controlled – except for his copious tweeting. However, Errol described her as the “most beautiful” of his children.
During the AFP interview, Errol received what he said was an email from Elon offering payment for a recent eye surgery – another example of the son’s generosity, according to the father.
“Elon is very careful. He really means it when he says he wants to save people. It’s not a slogan,” he thinks he knows.
He last saw his megastar son, who now lives in Texas, six years ago when he was 70. “I’m a guy in South Africa, I don’t care about my birthday but it’s so beautiful, ”he said. Unbeknownst to her, Elon invited famous friends in Cape Town, including many Hollywood artists.
During this lunch, the topic of Donald Trump was discussed. “I said + Yes, I support Trump +”, Errol said. “He’s a winner. Like me, Elon and (his brother) Kimbal”.