One of the good things about the 21st century is that the internet and technology, in general, has bridged the gap between the rich and the average/poor. Being wealthy is no longer synonymous with being old or advanced in age as young people now have the access and opportunity to join the millionaires league. The youngest millionaires in South Africa today all attained their status through creativity, hard work, and dedication.
Young millionaires in South Africa have a thing or two in common; they are young, wealthy, and very driven. Their success is a lesson to the younger generation that dreams are indeed valid. Another thing that they have in common is that they are all entrepreneurs who started building their plans really early.
List of The Youngest South African Millionaires
1. Vusi Thembekwayo
- Net Worth: $36.4 Million
- Age: 38 years old
- Industry: Investment
- Other Sources of Wealth: Author, Speaker
Vusi Thembekwayo has been called different names as his career continues to metamorphose. He is an acclaimed business mogul, a leadership genius, a global speaker, and a self-made millionaire. Vusi earned the name disruptor after achieving several undeniable feats in his career. At age 25 in 2010, he successfully ran an R400m division in a R17bn multi-national company. He has come to be regarded as one of the most disruptive forces in venture capital not only in South Africa but also in Africa at large. For someone who started out as one of the youngest directors of a listed company in South Africa, he now serves on several boards across the continent.
In broadening his horizon, Vusi is now the CEO of a boutique investment & advisory firm in Africa. He has continued to lead by example as his firm forces both large and medium-sized businesses towards a much needed, painful, but always lucrative new direction.
The young entrepreneur has graced the covers of several Entrepreneur Magazine and has featured on Forbes and Inc500.
Vusi is also a professional speaker who has visited 21 global cities, including New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Nairobi, Guernsey, Lagos, Jersey, Rio de Janeiro, Dar es Salaam, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Colombo, and Kampala. He reportedly charges R100k per event and attends over a hundred gigs yearly. This has contributed generously to his net worth. He has also authored some bestselling books. His first book titled ‘The Magna Carta of Exponentiality’ which took him 8 years to complete sold over 6,000 copies in a single day on debut in Barcelona, Spain. His follow-up book, titled “Vusi Lessons from the Black Dragon” is amongst the fastest books to reach best-seller status in South Africa. With his business acumen, Vusi has been the catalyst for change in businesses across the globe through expertise in strategy, sales, and leadership.
2. Ludwick Marishane
- Net Worth: $10-50 Million
- Age: 33 years old
- Industry: Personal Hygiene Production
- Other Sources of Wealth: Speaker
Ludwick Marishane is a young but well-accomplished business scientist and inventor. He is the Managing Director of Headboy – a product-development and commercialization agency that is best known for their ‘DryBath product’. He invented DryBath – a biodegradable and odorless gel that cleans the body without water while in high school and wrote a business plan for it in his first year at the university. Ludwick graduated from the University of Cape Town with Honours in Business Science. His entrepreneurial journey began while in the university where he was rated as the best student entrepreneur. Google also named him as one of the 12 brightest young minds in the world that same year.
Ludwick has continued to do exploits in business after graduation which has contributed immensely to his net worth, making him one of the youngest millionaires in South Africa.
In 2017, he became a member of the Global Shapers Johannesburg Hub which is an initiative of the World Economic Forum. He has served in the Treasury and Hub-Curator roles. Ludwick is really hellbent on changing his world and has co-founded an ed-tech company with the goal of halving university dropout rates within the next 10 years. Some of his accolades include making TIME magazine’s 30 People Under 30 Changing the World, Forbes Africa Top 30 under 30 Young African Entrepreneurs.
Asides from business, Ludwick has taken to speaking. He was the only African (and also the youngest) to address the 1500-person audience at the Accenture Innovation Conference in 2015. His skills have enabled him to engage both corporate & academic audiences. Some of his clients include Standard Bank, GIBS, Nandos, UCT-GSB, Absa, Discovery, Primedia, Momentum, VWSA, Accenture, Sanlam, amongst others.
3. Adii Pienaar
- Net Worth: $5 Million
- Age: 36 years old
- Industry: Software Engineering, E-commerce
- Other Sources of Wealth: Author
Adii Pienaar is the genius who founded Conversio. Prior to Conversio, he co-founded WooThemes/WooCommerce, which enabled him to learn the ropes as regards building software for e-commerce stores. WooThemes developed unique and customized plug-ins and themes for WordPress, Tumblr, and more companies. Adii and his partners sold Woothemes to Automatic for a $30 million deal.
After Campaign Monitor acquired Conversio in August 2019, his current commercial gig is CM Commerce. He describes himself as an impulsive writer and is the author of the book “Life Profitably,” among others. Adii is proud to be called a family man, father, entrepreneur, and writer. With a net worth of over $5 million, he cements his place on the list of the youngest millionaires in South Africa.
4. Rapelang Rabana
- Net Worth: $4 million
- Age: 41 years old
- Industry: Software and Digital Technology
- Other Sources of Wealth: Keynote Speaker
The brilliant Rapelang Rabana holds her own as one of the youngest millionaires in South Africa. After graduating with honors from the University of Cape Town with a degree in business science (computer science specialty) in 2005, she has continued to take the world and her industry by storm. In 2019, she returned to her Alma Mata to give the commencement speech.
Fresh out of the university, Rabana co-founded a software company named Yeigo Communications with the signature VoIP mobile application called Yeigo in 2006. Her company was the first free VoIP mobile service provider in South Africa. In 2009, a South African next-generation operator by the name of Telfree bought a major stake in Yeigo and appointed her as the leader of their Research and Development department until she left in 2012.
In 2014, she founded Rekindle Learning – a company whose aim is to empower people to respond to the changing world of work through digital learning experiences. Rapelang again joined BCX and was named Chief Digital Officer in 2017 where she was until 2018.
Rapelang is a seasoned entrepreneur considering the number of businesses she has a stake in. Some of her several achievements include making Oprah Magazine’s O Power List in 2012, making Forbes’s 30 under 30 lists for best entrepreneurs of Africa in 2013, and being named one of the Entrepreneurs of the World by the World Entrepreneurship Forum in 2014. She was also selected as a Global Shaper and then a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2017.
Asides from the recognition she has received in her country, it is gratifying to note that Rapelang’s brilliance has also been noted and celebrated abroad. In 2013, she was invited to join the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. She is a Juror and Ambassador for the United Nations World Summit Awards. In 2015, she gave the keynote address at Gartner Symposium in Cape Town. In September 2020, she was honored with the Charlotte Mannye Maxeke – Bring her up Women’s First Award.
5. Refiloe Maele Phoolo (Cassper Nyovest)
- Net Worth: $3 Million
- Age: 32 years old
- Industry: Music
- Other Sources of Wealth: Record Production, Song Writing, Business
The South African-born musician professionally called Cassper Nyovest is arguably the youngest South African millionaire. The multi-talented artist is a songwriter, rapper, record producer, and also businessman. He is known as one of the most successful artists in and out of South Africa. He was born and raised in Mahikeng, North West, and dropped out of high school to pursue his musical career. Luckily for him, his debut studio album – Tsholofelo (2014) saw him rise to fame with successful singles like “Doc Shebeleza” and “Gusheshe”. Asides from releasing several hit tracks and winning several awards, Cassper Nyovest also owns his own record label – Family Tree Records which he founded in 2014.
For someone so young, Cassper has shown that he isn’t only streetwise but also businesswise. He has capitalized on his fame and monetized several of his talents. He established his own sneaker company called Root of Fame, under Drip Footwear in July 2021. He also launched his liquor brand called Billiato in September 2021. After a sold-out first concert tagged “Fill Up The Dome” in 2015 which was held at Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, Nyovest replicated this concert in different stadiums all around South Africa and turned it into an annual event. He has held the concerts at Orlando Stadium Johannesburg in 2016, FNB Stadium Johannesburg in 2017, Moses Mabhida Stadium Durban in 2018, and the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in 2019.
A generous percentage of Cassper’s wealth comes from the various brands that he endorses. Some of them include the vodka brand Ciroc which is reportedly one of the biggest endorsement deals he has had so far. In 2015, he endorsed a smartphone by MTN and AG Mobile named AG Hashtag which was partly designed and inspired by him. Cassper also has juicy endorsement deals with brands like KFC SA, Shoprite, Samsung South Africa, Castle Lite, Nike SA, and Coca-Cola. It is pertinent to point out that several sources claim that Cassper’s net worth could be higher than the stated $3 million. With all the businesses he has his hands into in the entertainment industry, it is no wonder that he continues to show up in his designer wears and some of the most luxurious vehicles.
6. Sandile Shezi
- Net Worth: $2.3 Million
- Age: 30 years old
- Industry: Foreign Exchange Market
- Other Sources of Wealth: Speaker
Sandile Shezi is one determined individual who had it rough while growing up. He got snippets of forex trading here and there and began to trade even before he became a teenager. He would sell muffins in school and use his proceeds to trade forex. Even though he initially dropped out of school in his third year to concentrate on his forex trading, he later earned his National Diploma from the Durban University of Technology where he studied Public Relations and Applied Communications.
Sandile has been referred to on several occasions as the youngest self-made millionaire in South Africa as he became a millionaire at age 23 all from his hard-earned money. He was said to have traded with his tuition fee. Even though it was a big gamble, it paid off big time. As it stands today, Sandile is the Group Chief Executive at the Rivoltare Group, and one of the top Forex millionaires in South Africa. His group owns business interests ranging from Stock, Crypto-Currency to Real Estate and Managing Financial Market Portfolios.
Despite his own trajectory, Sandile discourages young ones from following in his footsteps as he claims that the market is very volatile and one needs to learn first before you do away with the ‘L’ and ‘earn’. His company teaches and trains the youth how to trade safely. He also trains people how to trade forex or stock and charges anything from R1,999 for basic to R3,999 for pro on his platform called iTradeFXLive. Sandile has shown that with dedication, one can rise from the lowest to the highest point. He is a broker, teacher, and definitely a millionaire.
7. Ntombezinhle Jiyane (DJ Zinhle)
- Net Worth: $1.49 Million
- Age: 39 years old
- Industry: Music, Entertainment
- Other Sources of Wealth: Music
DJ Zinhle chose a male-dominated profession and has not only excelled at it but has shattered several records. Zinhle grew up knowing she wanted to make a name for herself in the entertainment industry. However, she wanted to be a television presenter and never had any dream or aspirations of being a DJ. Her brother who had a passion for mixing vinyl’s soon rubbed off on her and she fell in love with DJ-ing. She started her career in 2004 and got her first major break when she became the resident DJ on a youth dance show named Jika Majika that was aired on SABC 1.
Since then, Zinhle has successfully built up her name to the heights where it is today and many young DJs look up to her as a mentor. She has also tried her hand at music. In 2019, she released a hit single titled “Umlilo” which gained 5.1 million streams in just 3 months. Asides from being one of the youngest millionaires in South Africa, DJ Zinhle is a brilliant businesswoman. She is the CEO of Boulevard Nectar Rosé wine. Some of her accolades include being named one of South Africa’s Top 10 most influential women by Bona magazine. Oprah Magazine named her one of 21 Most Powerful African women while Channel 24 named her the 4th most powerful celebrity in South Africa.
In 2018 and 2019, she was acknowledged as Africa’s Top Female DJ and then won the Forbes Woman Africa Entertainer Award in March 2020. DJ Zinhle recently partnered with BET Africa to air her own reality show, DJ Zinhle – Unexpected. The achievement isn’t much of a surprise as the talented DJ and smart businesswoman is one of the most celebrated individuals in entertainment in Africa and this is the fourth female-led local reality show for BET Africa.
8. Bernard Parker
- Net Worth: $1.35 Million
- Age: 37 years old
- Industry: Football
- Other Sources of Wealth: N/A
Growing up, Bernard Parker was very good in a variety of sports. He excelled in swimming and both short and long-distance running. He started his professional football career by playing in the Premier Soccer League for Thanda Royal Zulu. In 2011, he was sold to Kaizer Chiefs where he has made over 200 appearances and scored more than 40 goals. In the 2013-14 season, he was awarded the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot, after scoring a total of 10 goals. He also won the African Nations Championship Golden Boot.
With Kaizer Chiefs, Parker has won the Premier Soccer League twice and also the MTN 8 and the Nedbank Cup league titles. He is not only one of the youngest millionaires in South Africa as he has also been referred to as the second richest player in the PSL.
9. Duduzane Zuma
- Net Worth: $1.12 Million
- Age: 41 years old
- Industry: Investment, Information Technology
- Other Sources of Wealth: Shares in several businesses
Seeing Duduzane Zuma on the list of the youngest millionaires in South Africa, many might assume that his father Jacob Zuma who was a one-time South African president made him who he is. Duduzane has, however, been quite vocal about being his own man and making it with minimal support from his family. He graduated from the University of Pretoria with a degree in Information Technology but found it difficult to secure a job. He finally found one with the Gupta family and rose through the ranks. The vocal politician has been embroidered in several controversies over the years but that hasn’t quenched his political ambitions as he intends to run for ANC presidential seat in 2022 and in the national general elections in 2024.
Duduzane is an astute entrepreneur who owns a number of businesses. He is the owner of Mabengela Investments which owns a percentage of the Ayigobi Consortium. He is also the director of Island site Investments and Sahara Computer, which is a telecommunications and ICT firm. He is a non-executive director at JIC Mining Services. His other investments include Karibu Hospitality, Westdawn Investments, Shiva Uranium, Gemini Moon Trading 254, Afripalm Horizons, and Sahara Holding which is owned by the Gupta family.
10. Doug Hoernle
- Net Worth: $1 -5 Million
- Age: 32 years old
- Industry: Education and Technology
- Other Sources of Wealth: Speaker
Doug Hoernle started his first business when he was only 16 years old. He was named an Allan Gray Fellow for his charity and entrepreneurial work throughout high school. He proceeded to the University of Cape Town where he graduated with honors studying Finance. While in the university, he tutored matrix students and later established Rethink Education which is an online tutorial business. His platform has tutored more than 500,000 students.
Doug has been actively involved in building several technology businesses in the education space for more than a decade. He is also the founder and CEO of Karri Payments, a mobile payment/collection application that allows parents to pay schools fees quickly and easily. It allows users to store money to be used for school-related expenses. Karri, in collaboration with Nedbank, went ahead to launch a school payment and collection business targeting the SA education market. His many accomplishments have seen him feature in Forbes magazine, Fast Company, and several other journals. He has also been invited to speak at conferences and universities across Africa, Dubai, Israel, the United States, and Singapore on a number of topics including education, entrepreneurship, and technology.
Even though his net worth has been estimated to be between $1 to 5 million, Doug doesn’t have plans of slowing down anytime soon. He is in the process of setting up a craft gin distillery in Cape Town and also pursuing several other opportunities, both tech and non-tech.
South Africa’s Young Millionaires Are Resilient
Gone are the days when one needed to be born into the money before one becomes successful. In actual fact, many of the younger generation have shown that through hard work, resilience, and dedication, one can become a millionaire and become all that one desires to be. Moreover, the South African economy has given lots of young people the opportunity to thrive as South Africa is known as a middle-income emerging market with lots of supply of natural resources. The country has well-developed financial, energy, legal, transport, and communications sectors. South Africa’s stock exchange is also the largest in Africa and one of the top 20 in the world.
Moreover, in recent times, there has been a significant amount of growth in the ICT sector which has seen a lot of young people attaining millionaire status as the ICT and internet seem to be the forte of the young ones. However, this list of youngest millionaires in South Africa is not limited to one field as it cuts across various sectors which implies that this generation must be learning a lot from the mistakes of the older generation.
Poverty can be a driving force for anyone to succeed in life and these young ones deserve all the accolades for not only becoming a millionaire but also for investing right and maintaining their millionaire status in this age where they are tempted to live “large” and show off on social media.
Recap Of The Youngest Millionaires In South Africa
- Vusi Thembekwayo – $36.4 Million
- Ludwick Marishane – $10-50 Million
- Adii Pienaar – $5 Million
- Rapelang Rabana – $4Million
- Refiloe Maele Phoolo aka Cassper Nyovest – $3 Million
- Sandile Shezi – $2.3 Million
- Ntombezinhle Jiyane aka DJ Zinhle – $1.49 Million
- Bernard Parker – $1.35 Million
- Duduzane Zuma – $1. 12 Million
- Doug Hoernle – $1 -5 Million