South African business baron Patrice Motsepe made King Mswati III of the Kingdom of eSwatini smile from ear to ear when the Motsepe Foundation donated a staggering R10 million to the University of eSwatini (Uneswa).
Motsepe did his high school education at St Marks High School in Mbabane in 1979, before enrolling for a Bachelor of Law degree which he completed in 1984 at the then University of Swaziland.
Speaking on behalf of others who were recognised by the university, Motsepe called for respect for all human beings because “they may become great once through with their studies”.
“Be nice to your students because they will become your bosses in future. My former lecturer, Dr Vakashile Rejoice Simelane, liked me so much that she later joined Ubuntu-Botho Investments, where she is chief executive officer.
“Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo is also working for one of our companies and we used to get along well during my years as a student even though he was my lecturer. In short, be nice to your students because they may employ you in future,” he said to the delight of graduands.
Motsepe started Future Mining, a contract mining company. He is the founder and chairperson of African Rainbow Minerals and is also deputy chairman of Sanlam. Motsepe also chairs the board of Harmony Gold.
Motsepe said he was grateful that the kingdom never took him as a stranger and it was for that reason that he felt it was important to contribute R10 million towards the alumni because it made him what he is today.
The king, who is chancellor of the university, said he was thrilled that everywhere he met Motsepe he would tell him that he regarded himself as liSwati at heart even though he was born to South African parents.
“He would speak highly of King Sobhuza II, who took them as his own children and allowed them to acquire education in his country when South Africa was burning.
"I am grateful that our university has managed to produce people like Motsepe and I would like to encourage you to work hard so that the university can produce more billionaires,” the king urged the graduating emaSwati.
Last weekend’s ceremony saw 1 493 students graduate, of which 59% were female.
This story was updated to reflect the correct amount of R10 million, and not €10 million as was previously reported.
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