Does Ramaphosa want Elon Musk to come home and invest in South Africa?

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard. NASA TV/AFP/-

The president congratulated Musk on this weekend’s historic space flight, appealing to his African roots.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has reached out to South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk offering “warm congratulations” for his company’s historic first commercially manned flight into space this past weekend.

Musk’s Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday successfully docked a company-owned capsule called Dragon carrying a pair of NASA astronauts with the International Space Station.

Musk was born in Pretoria, went to school there, and studied at the University of Pretoria for a short while before moving to Canada at the age of 17.

President Ramaphosa was glowing in his compliments to Musk, referring to his African roots: “In the midst of our struggle against Covid-19, Elon Musk has made us proud as a country and continent.”

“It is most appropriate that we have been given this hope and excitement at a time when insecurity and uncertainty define the human condition in many parts of the world.

“The Dragon’s successful flight to the International Space Station speaks of the ability of a resilient, industrious, fearless and visionary individual to harness talent and material resources to open new frontiers of hope, adventure and opportunity for generations into the future,” Ramaphosa said.

The president is currently on a drive to attract global investment into South Africa, with tech industries being high on the list.

It would not be unlikely Ramaphosa might be appealing to Musk’s sense of patriotism, or his ability to seemingly take bets on off-beat opportunities.

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