Elon Musk Didn’t Grow Up in Abundance Despite False, Unsubstantiated Claims

Elon Musk did not grow up in abundance but made his way on his own. The CEO of the most disruptive companies in the world continues to face a false narrative that after years still remains unproven.

A false narrative with the intent to cause harm

Elon Musk grew up in hardship, wore second-hand clothes, and ate very modestly. He became a self-made billionaire thanks to his sharp mind and desire to create something that would benefit all of humanity. In the great success Elon has achieved, there is no merit to his despotic father. However, haters continue to spread false information about his childhood and upbringing. They seek to show that Elon became successful only because his father financed him. At the same time, not a single piece of evidence for these accusations has ever been presented.

The creation of a false narrative lies in the conscience of a small number of people. Some of them are journalists who seize the opportunity to become popular in any way, others are competitors of Elon’s companies, and yet others have a dislike for his personality. However, a false story is spreading among the people. Some thoughtlessly believe what they read, others, driven by hatred, refuse to ask themselves even elementary questions that would help lead to the truth.

The myth of the emerald mine

In 2018, Business Insider South Africa and Errol Musk created a myth that had no factual evidence. According to the myth, Elon’s father, Errol, owned a stake in an apartheid-related emerald mine in Africa. The profit from it allegedly provided the family with wealth and was used to finance Elon’s business. As fact-checking (via Saving Journalism) shows, this story is absolutely untrue.

This myth is still used by Elon’s haters to slander him and question his accomplishments. Still to this day, there is zero evidence that such a mine ever existed. Errol himself told the story of the mine to his children. According to Elon, he even believed in it for a while. However, after his father failed to provide a single piece of evidence, he also stopped believing him.

“He told me that he owned a share in a mine in Zambia, and I believed him for a while, but nobody has ever seen the mine, nor are there any records of its existence,” Elon explained.

The myth of the emerald mine has created a false impression of Elon Musk’s childhood

Due to the flow of false information, many people believe that the Musk family has always been rich. Elon’s father did earn a lot, but after his mother, Maye Musk, divorced him. He did not support the children financially at all.

“Some people spew hate language towards us because they think we grew up with a silver spoon and were given everything – which is so far from the truth. When I was growing up it was just a matter of survival,” said Elon’s sister, Tosca in an interview with The Sunday Times in 2022.

The real story of Elon’s childhood and growing up is told by his mother in the book

Elon’s mom wrote a wonderful book, “A Woman Makes A Plan.” This book tells Maye’s personal story, which includes many details of what life really was like for her and her children. Her husband, Errol, was aggressive and started beating her during their honeymoon. He continued to do this in later years in front of their children. Elon’s mom was intimidated because Errol said that if she ever divorced him, he would slash her face with a razor and shoot her children in the knees. This fear prevented her from deciding on a divorce. But, in 1979, the possibility of divorce was legalized in South Africa, and Maye filed for divorce.

Maye, with three children, found herself in a difficult financial situation

Errol refused to financially help his young children. Although the court ruled that he must pay 5% of his income to cover the cost of schooling, medical, and dental services for the children, the father never did so. Maye was forced to dress the children in the cheapest clothes, often bought second-hand. However, Errol destroyed the clothes every time, when the children visited him for the weekend.

A single mother with three children, Maye lived in tiny apartments or dorm rooms. They often ate only peanut butter sandwiches and bean soup, as there was not enough money for a complete and balanced diet.

The $2,000 given by his mother became Elon’s mainstay after moving from South Africa

Elon left South Africa at the age of 17. He only had $2,000 in his pocket. It was the money his mother gave him. After moving to Canada, Elon was forced to work the hardest jobs to earn as much money as possible for a living. He first worked on a relative’s farm in the Canadian countryside. Then he chopped logs in Vancouver and cleaned boiler rooms at sawmills, earning $18 an hour.

When Elon’s brother, Kimbal, also moved to Canada, they began to think about other jobs. The brothers took turns calling businessmen and asking for lunch, where they asked them for work. Thanks to such perseverance, they managed to win the sympathy of Bank of Nova Scotia executive, Peter Nicholson. He became Elon’s mentor and offered him an internship at a bank for $14 an hour. In addition, Elon worked part-time assembling computers and repairing them.

Elon’s father lied about funding his sons’ business

Elon and Kimbal founded Global Link in 1995. It developed a local business lookup service for early computer users by associating a company’s phone number with an address. At the time, a friend of the brothers, Greg Curi, helped found the company. He invested $6,000 from his own savings. As a result of the development, the company grew and received funding from Mohr Davidow Ventures in the amount of $3 million. Thus, Zip2 was created, which was sold in 1999 for $307 million. But, Errol took merit for funding his sons’ business. He stated that he gave them $28,000. However, this was not true, because a small group of Silicon Valley business angels became the real financier.

After the sale of Zip2, Elon received $22 million. Part of this amount he spent on creating one of the first online banks, X.com, in which Kimbal became an investor. In June 2001, the service merged with the PayPal payment system. After selling his stake in PayPal, Elon received $165 million. This money became the basis for the founding of SpaceX and Tesla.

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