Black Excellence: A Look Into How This South African Went From Prison To Become A Crypto Millionaire

by Duke Magazine

Xolane Ndhlovu is a South African entrepreneur and investor in the technology sector. He founded DafriGroup PLC, a publicly-traded company with operations in technology, finance, hospitality, blockchain, real estate, media, and aviation. It operates subsidiaries in South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, the Comoros Islands, and the United Kingdom and Wales.

Before becoming an investor, Ndhlovu was a music DJ known as Master Ziggy. He was born in Burgersfort, South Africa, to a Nigerian father and a South African mother. He did, however, run afoul of the law and was convicted of a gang-related shooting. Prison would have unanticipated benefits.

He came into contact with Richard Branson’s autobiography while incarcerated and learned how the British entrepreneur built a business empire. According to him, Branson’s “Losing My Virginity” inspired him not only to change his ways but also to become a business magnate.

“When I was younger, I was inspired to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors after reading Richard Branson’s book, “Losing My Virginity.” It’s the story of Branson’s journey from having no business knowledge to becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our generation,” the 36-year-old explained in this interview.

He prudently invested his savings in cryptocurrency exchange Binance (BNB) and other technology companies. He quickly earned his first million dollars while incarcerated and then founded an entrepreneurship center for fellow inmates to equip ex-offenders with the entrepreneurial skills necessary to transition away from a life of crime and become productive citizens. Additionally, he established a corporate entity, UMEH Group, and later, DafriGroup PLC.

“My first break came a few years ago when I founded UMEH, a venture capital firm focused on small technology startups with growth potential. That is how I earned my first million dollars. And that is precisely what DafriGroup is doing.

“DafriGroup is an investment firm that places a premium on future investments. We seek out unique investment opportunities that have the potential to propel Africa’s economy forward,” he explained.

Additionally, Ndhlovu launched his digital-only bank, DafriBank LTD, in 2021, which enabled him to join his country’s billionaires club.

According to the 2021 Top 50 Crypto Rich list, Ndhlovu has an estimated crypto wealth of $300 million (R6 billion).

When asked what DafriBank has to offer Africans, he stated that DafriBank will eliminate financing barriers and provide a broad range of banking services ranging from deposits to transfers to financial planning.

“The digital era is the future of our world. Nobody, I believe, would deny that. That means that the future of banking will likely be entirely digital. DafriBank is developing a modern payment network that will bring together the best ideas, innovations, and technologies developed in the last few years. The DafriBank ecosystem will enable secure, fast, and low-cost transactions through the use of a global currency,” he explained.

According to Business Day, Ndhlovu holds a diploma in media management, a bachelor’s degree in commerce economics from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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