Qualifications of South Africa’s richest people

It’s a question that comes up time and again – do you need a higher education to become wealthy?

The playground of the rich and famous is littered with people who have no tertiary education including Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, more recently, Mark Zuckerberg, and the world’s current richest man, Bill Gates.

In Fact, according to Approved Index as many as 32% of the top 100 billionaires in the world did not complete tertiary education.

Of those who attended university, 22% studied engineering and 12% studied business, while 19% of the top 100 billionaires made their fortune through tech.

Average wealth by degree
Average wealth by degree

Forbes has published its annual billionaire’s list, listing the world’s wealthiest individuals – including seven South Africans.

BusinessTech looked at the qualifications, if any, of South Africa’s billionaires.

Billionaire University
Degree
Johann Rupert University of Stellenbosch Dropped out
Nicky Oppenheimer Christ Church, Oxford Oxford MA
Christo Wiese Stellenbosch University Bachelor of Arts LLB
Koos Bekker Stellenbosch University and University of the Witwatersrand  Law & Literature
Patrice Motsepe University of Swaziland and University of the Witwatersrand Bachelor of Law Bachelor of Arts
Stephen Saad University of Natal Bachelor of Commerce
Allan Gray Harvard MBA
Johann Rupert
Johann Rupert

South African luxury goods tycoon, Johann Rupert remains the country’s richest man with a net worth exceeding $7.4 billion (R89 billion).

The chairman of Compagnie Financiere Richemont  dropped out of the University of Stellenbosch to pursue a career in business. In 2004, the university awarded him an honorary doctorate in Economics.

In 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Commerce from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

He was also awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by The university of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Nicky Oppenheimer
Nicky Oppenheimer

 Nicky Oppenheimer

The mining magnate read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford. He obtained a Master of Arts at Oxford, following a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In 2003, the University of Johannesburg awarded Oppenheimer a Doctorate in Technology.

The chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines, is worth just shy of $7 billion (R84 billion).

Christo Wiese
Christo Wiese

Christo Wiese 

Wiese attended Stellenbosch University, from where he received a Bachelor of Arts/Science and LLB degrees.

After university, he practiced law at the Cape Bar before joining Pepkor. The controlling shareholder of Shoprite Holdings is worth approximately $6.3 billion (R76 billion).

Patrice Motsepe
Patrice Motsepe

Patrice Motsepe

Motsepe obtained a Bachelor of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand, and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Swaziland.

Motsepe founded and chairs African Rainbow Minerals, a publicly traded mining firm and is worth approximately $2 billion (R24 billion).

Stephen Saad
Stephen Saad

Stephen Saad

Founder of Aspen Pharmacare, Saad graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he received a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1985 and a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting in 1986.

He then went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant (SA). Saad has an estimated wealth of $1.75 billion (R20 billion) according to Forbes.

Allan Gray
Allan Gray

Allan Gray

Gray, who is worth in excess of $1.5 billion (R18 billion) started investment management firm Allan Gray after earning his MBA from Harvard and spending eight years at Fidelity Fund Management in the US.

Other SA born notables on Forbe’s rich list include Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Musk is worth an estimated $11.5 billion (R138 billion) and obtained a Bachelor of Arts/Science, at the University of Pennsylvania.

Johannesburg born Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, one of the world’s largest commodity trading and mining companies, obtained a Bachelor Degree in Accountancy at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He also received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Marshall School of Business in the US.

Glasenberg is worth $5.1 billion (R61 billion), according to Forbes.

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Qualifications of South Africa’s richest people