On this day, September 18 in the year 1973, the man considered as the first African in space was born in Welkom, Free State, South Africa. His name is Mark Richard Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical Ltd., a computer software company that is behind the Ubuntu operating system.
Mark Shuttleworth was the son of a surgeon and a school teacher. He received his degree in finance and information systems from the University of Cape Town. In 1995, he founded the Thawte Consulting, a firm that specialized in digital certificates and internet security for electronic commerce. Four years later, he sold the company to Verisign for about US$570 million.
In 2000, Mark Shuttleworth established HBD (Here Be Dragon) Venture Capital to finance and support innovative software and internet startups. In 2004, he set up Canonical Ltd. to promote the development of free software especially the Ubuntu operating system.
In April 2002, Mark Shuttleworth paid around $20 million to train at Star City in Russia in preparation for travel in space. He rode on the Soyuz spacecraft for 8 days, the second space tourist and the first African to do so.
Mark has since relocated to the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom. His move to transfer large amount of capital generated controversy when it was taxed heavily by the South African authorities.