Childhood photo of Elon Musk in 1988 with his mother, both of them seated on the sofa, and their African domestic help, who is sitting on the floor, at their home in South Africa.
The South Africa-born billionaire recently courted controversy on Twitter as he accused radicals of pushing for genocide of white people in the country, reigniting a debate about a controversial decades-old song that dated back to the struggle against apartheid. The purported childhood photo of Musk has gone viral amid the controversy, insinuating that the Pretoria-born CEO of Tesla and Twitter had a racist upbringing.
Newschecker learnt that Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971, which makes him around 17 years of age at the time the purported photo was taken in 1988. The child in the photo does not seem to be a teenager, raising our doubts.
A reverse image search of the photo led us to a black-and-white version of the photo, titled “Mother, Daughter and Maid, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1977”, uploaded on Artsy, an online marketplace for art. The same photo was featured in this Vulture interview, dated October 28, 2021, with the photographer, Rosalind Fox Solomon.
A further search led us to the photo in the US’s National Gallery Of Art’s official website, similarly titled “Mother, Daughter and Maid, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1988”, as well as in the Harvard Art Museums website, confirming that it is not a childhood photo of Musk, but of an unnamed South African mother, daughter, and maid taken during apartheid.
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