700 Best-known Africans, All-time. Name, country of origin, profile



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700 Best-known Africans, All-time.
Name, country of origin, profile

1. Kofi Annan, Ghana; UN secretary general, co-winner with UN, 2001 Nobel Peace prize 268,589

2. Nelson Mandela, South Africa; famous political prisoner, first post-apartheid president 261,293

3. Sade, Nigeria; calm-faced, 1980s Pop singer, hits Sweetest Taboo, Lovers' Rock 217,425

4. Charlize Theron, South Africa; actress, 2000 Men of Honor, 1997 Trial and Error 172,683

5. Cleopatra, Egypt; Greek-born ancient Egyptian queen, lover of Rome's Mark Anthony 110,706

6. Lou Bega, Uganda; born David Lubega, German-based singer, hit song Mambo No. 5 85,608

7. Samantha Mumba, Zambia; Zambian father, Irish mother, 2000s Pop singer 85,503

8. Seal, Nigeria; 1990s scar-faced Pop singer, hits Crazy, Kiss For A Rose 80,610

9. Ernie Els, South Africa; 2002 British Open golf champion 68,658

10. Tunde Baiyewu, Nigeria; lead vocalist of 1990s Pop-Soul duo, Lighthouse Family 62,259

11. Ptolemy I, Egypt; Greek-born general, invaded Egypt, created dynasty 61,574

12. Gary Player, South Africa; 1961 US Masters, 1974 British Open golf champion 60,564

13. Thabo Mbeki, South Africa; president, holder of controversial views on AIDS' origin 60,138

14. St. Anthony, Egypt; 4th century monk, first Christian to adopt monastic lifestyle 58,343

15. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe; maverick South African-born president, nemesis of whites 53,279

16. Nick Price, Zimbabwe; 1992 PGA golf champion 47,904

17. Desmond Tutu, South Africa; Anglican archbishop, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner 46,248

18. Queen of Sheba, Ethiopia-Yemen; fabled queen, visited Israel's biblical King Solomon 42,127

19. Hosni Mubarak, Egypt; president, Middle East peace broker, succeeded Anwar Sadat 39,613

20. Chinua Achebe, Nigeria; author of Africa's most famous novel Things Fall Apart 38,309

21. Ptolemy V, Egypt; king, his name inscribed on the famous granite Rosetta Stone 36,104

22. Retief Goosen, South Africa; 2001 US Open golf champion 34,752

23. Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria; former military head of state, later civilian president 33,849

24. Dikembe Mutombo, Democratic Republic of Congo; NBA player, philanthropist 31,802

25. Miriam Makeba, South Africa; 1960s, 1970s singer, Malaika, Pata Pata 30,894

26. Haile Selassie, Ethiopia; late head of state, patriarchal icon of Rastafarian movement 29,060

27. Wole Soyinka, Nigeria; playwright, 1986 Nobel Prize winner for literature 28,738

28. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egypt; first African United Nations secretary general 27,867

29. Idi Amin, Uganda; military leader, symbol of 20th tyrannical evil, 1972, expelled Asians 23,674

30. Hakeem Olajuwon, Nigeria; player in US National Basketball Association 23,556

31. Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt; novelist, The Beggar, 1988 Nobel Prize winner for literature 22,923

32. King Tutankhamun, Egypt; Egyptian pharaoh, hence Breakdance move, "King Tut" 22,370

33. Nadine Gordimer, South Africa; novelist, 1991 Nobel Prize winner for literature 22,275

34. Hatshepsut, Egypt; queen in 18th Dynasty, influential among ancient Egypt rulers 20,252

35. Omar Sharif, Egypt; actor, born Michael Shalhoub, took lead role in film Dr Zhivago 22,238

36. Youssou N'dour, Senegal; singer, human rights activist, hit song Seven Seconds 20,329

37. Cesaria Evora, Cape Verde; 61 year-old, bare-footed female Creole Blues singer 19,512

38. Amanda Coetzer, South Africa; international women Tennis tour player 19,380

39. Zacarias Moussaoui, Morocco; suspect in Sept., 2001 terrorist attacks on America 19,355

40. Joseph Kabila, Democratic Republic of Congo, president, son of Laurent Kabila 19,076

41. Yoweri Museveni, Uganda; guerrilla leader, later president, successful in AIDS fight 18,374

42. Angélique Kidjo, Benin; boyish, bejeweled Pop singer, Agolo, Wombo Lombo 18,192

43. King Hassan II, Morocco; late long-serving monarch, discreet peace contact of Israel 18,145

44. Anwar Sadat, Egypt; slain president, 1978 Nobel Prize winner, for deal with Israel 17,942

45. Dr.Alban, Nigeria; originally Alban Nwapa, dread locked singer 17,142

46. Charles Taylor, Liberia; warlord, later president, accused of meddling in regional affairs 16,285

47. Laurent Kabila, DRCongo; guerrilla leader, fought Mobutu, in 2001, assassinated 16,233

48. Sani Abacha, Nigeria; military leader, annulled 1993 presidential elections 15,139

49. Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya; Thelonius Monk look-alike Mau Mau leader, later president 15,132

50. Mauricio Gugelmin, South Africa; 1990s Formula One racing driver 15,121

51. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Angola; second president, in power since 1979 15,008

52. Mohammed Atta, Egypt; hijacker, pilot of first ill-fated US airliner on Sept., 11, 2001 14,938

53. Amina Lawal, Nigeria; Muslim woman, set to die by stoning, for out-of-wedlock child 14,783

54. Nefertari, Egypt; queen of ancient Egypt, admired by many white supremacists 14,078

55. Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigeria; poet, murdered advocate for Ogoni tribe's rights 13,883

56. Younes El Aynaoui, Morocco; 1990s men's ATP tennis player 13,783

57. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa; 1990s ATP tennis player 13,579

58. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, Egypt; king of Egypt in third century B.C 13,026

59. Jonas Savimbi, Angola; guerrilla warlord, Cold War U.S ally, in 2002, killed in battle 12,863

60. Patrice Lumumba, DR Congo; much-admired assassinated 1960s political leader 12,745

61. Daniel arap Moi, Kenya; raspy-voiced president, self-described "professor of politics" 12,720

62. Cheb Mami, Algeria; singer, sang on duet with English rock star Sting, Desert Rose 12,599

63. Hansie Cronje, South Africa; late cricket captain, disgraced by match-fixing scandal 12,545

64. Muammar Gaddafi, Libya; mercurial anti-western leader, pan-African unity advocate 12,517

65. Basil Rathbone, South Africa; 1930s, 1940s Hollywood actor, Sherlock Holmes 12,350

66. Manu Dibango, Cameroon, dark-goggled, shaven-headed 1970s saxophonist, singer 12,345

67. Babatunde Olatunji, Nigeria; world-renown traditional African drummer, teacher 12,296

68. Mobutu Sese Seko, DR Congo; president, at $4 billion, once world's richest politician 12,238

69. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria; president, brokered 2000 Ethiopia-Eritrea peace accord 12,201

70. Hicham Arazi, Morocco; 2000s men's ATP tennis player 12,178

71. Shaun Pollock, South Africa; cricket player, 2002 national team captain 12,046

72. Alpha Blondy, Ivory Coast; Reggae singer-songwriter, Jerusalem 12,032

73. Louis Trichardt, South Africa; army general, led 18th century Great Trek Voortrekker 12,029

74. Jody Scheckter, South Africa; national Formula One racing champion, 1979, aged 12 11,923

75. Paul Kagame, Rwanda; commander of 1990s RPA guerrilla army, later president 11,903

76. Abdoulaye Wade, Senegal; opposition politician, president, African unity advocate 11,665

77. Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe; trade union leader, later main opposition leader 11,607

78. Mohammed VI, Morocco; monarch, succeeded father, Hassan II, married commoner 11,166

79. Cheops, Egypt; a.k.a Khufu, pharaoh, ordered construction of the Great Pyramid 11,126

80. Gnassingbe Eyadema, Togo; long-serving head of state, since 1967 11,079

81. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana; charismatic president, towering 1960s pan-African idol 10,928

82. Baaba Maal, Senegal; singer, nicknamed The Nightingale, sang Yere 10,882

83. Salif Keita, Mali; albino singer-songwriter, of haunting, majestic music 10,576

84. Nwankwo Kanu, Nigeria; lanky soccer striker, World Cup teams, English Arsenal FC 10,457

85. Fela Kuti, Nigeria; late, flamboyant singer 10,389

86. Femi Kuti, Nigeria; Afro Pop singer, son of the late Fela Kuti 10,352

87. Julius Nyerere, Tanzania; revered Socialist founding president, anti-apartheid figure 10,269

88. Ptolemy III Euergetes, Egypt; third king of Ptolemic dynasty 9,873

89. George Weah, Liberia; football striker, FIFA World Player of the Year, 1995 9,842

90. John Bland, South Africa; golfer 9,825

91. Mark Shuttleworth, South Africa; Internet multi-millionaire, first ever African in space 9,756

92. Leopold Sedar Senghor, Senegal; president, propounded Negritude identity, pride 9,704

93. Papa Wemba, Democratic Republic of Congo; leading Soukous musician 9,696

94. William Kentridge, South Africa; world-famous painter, also draws etchings 9,690

95. Athol Fugard, South Africa; 1960s dissident playwright, The Blood Knot 9,603

96. Mangosuthu Buthelezi, South Africa; Zulu nationalist leader, Nkatha Freedom Party 9,511

97. Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast; president, in 2000 led uprising against military rule 9,174

98. Jan Smuts, South Africa; World War II general, later Prime Minister 9,160

99. Allan Donald, South Africa; cricket player, country's most successful bowler, all-time 9,165

100. Samuel Nujoma, Namibia; leader of SWAPO guerrilla group, later president 9,070

101. Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia; guerrilla leader, later Prime Minister 9,059

102. Omar Bongo, Gabon; long-serving president, made popular high-heeled shoes 8,939

103. Franco Luambo, Democratic Republic of Congo; singer of popular love ballads 8,902

104. Jacques Kallis, South Africa; world record-breaking cricket player 8,819

105. Shaka Zulu, South Africa; legendary 19th century Zulu chieftain, resisted British rule 8,786

106. Frederick Chiluba, Zambia; trade union leader, later president, faced corruption case 8,758

107. Richard Leakey, Kenya; conservationist, cabinet minister, civil service head 8,541

108. El Hadji Diouf, Senegal; key striker in 2002 Africa Cup of Nations, World Cup finals 8,501

109. Foday Sankoh, Sierra Leone; rebel leader, implicated in grievous civilian atrocities 8,498

110. Hugh Masekela, South Africa; ebullient Jazz trumpeter, singer 8,475

111. Taribo West, Nigeria; football defender, in English premier team West Ham United 8,101

112. Steve Biko, South Africa; much-lamented, murdered anti-apartheid activist 8,044

113. Gary Kirsten, South Africa; cricket player 7,859

114. Ali Farka Toure, Mali; acclaimed musician, guitarist, singer 7,775

115. Pierre Buyoya, Burundi; two-time military leader, from minority Tutsi ethnic group 7,691

116. Buchi Emecheta, Nigeria; female novelist; author of children's books, short stories 7,672

117. Ptolemy IV Philopator, Egypt; fourth king of the Ptolemic dynasty 7,638

118. Patrick Mboma, Cameroon; African Footballer of the Year, 2000 7,517

119. Jonathan Butler, South Africa; acoustic Jazz guitarist and singer, composed Africa 7,403

120. Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt; Pan-Arab, Non-Alignment, Pan-African leader 7,343

121. Amr Moussa, Egypt; cerebral foreign minister, later Arab League secretary general 7,337

122. Lucky Dube, South Africa; Reggae singer, Prisoner, Slave, Let Jah Be Blessed 7,300

123. Sebastian Abreu, Senegal; football player 7,265

124. Andy Flower, Zimbabwe; cricket wicket keeper 7,262

125. Herschelle Gibbs, South Africa; cricket batsman 7,228

126. Amenhotep III, Egypt; pharaoh, built the famous temple at Luxor 7,208

127. Lance Klusener, South Africa; cricket player 7,149

128. Breyten Breytenbach, South Africa; author of How Apartheid Works 7,083

129. Ahmed Maher, Egypt; foreign minister, successor to Amr Mousa 7,027

130. Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique; president, spearheaded rapid economic growth 7,025

131. Rigobert Song, Cameroon; 2002 World Cup team captain, also player, Liverpool FC 6,973

132. Siad Barre, Somalia; last president before nation's 1991 collapse into anarchy 6,916

133. Ali Bacher, South Africa; former director, United Cricket Board of South Africa 6,893

134. Abdullah Ibrahim, South Africa; Jazz pianist and composer, born Adolphus Brand 6,847

135. Didier Ratsiraka, Madagascar; president, ousted after disputed 2001 elections 6,792

136. Oumou Sangaré, Mali; female singer, leading star of five-note melodic music of Wassoulou 6,749

137. Paul Kruger, South Africa; first president of Republic of South Africa 6,735

138. Johnny Clegg, South Africa; white, Zulu-speaking singer, leader, 1980s band Juluka 6,626

139. Issa Hayatou, Senegal; president, African football body CAF, 2002 vied for FIFA post 6,577

140. Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia; Malawi-born first president, later AIDS activist 6,569

141. Celestine Babayaro, Nigeria; football striker, with English team Chelsea 6,494

142. Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique; leader of FRELIMO group, killed by letter bomb 6,457

143. Yahya Jammeh, The Gambia; military leader, known for love of flamboyant clothes 6,374

144. Ama Ata Aidoo, Ghana; female author, writer on African women in modern world 6,386

145. F.W. De Klerk, South Africa; last apartheid-era president, freed Nelson Mandela 6,317

146. Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia; president, since 1987 led major economic growth 6,213

147. Marc Ravalomanana, Madagascar; city mayor, president after 2001 elections 6,156

148. Trevor Manuel, South Africa; 2000s finance minister 6,124

149. Winnie Mandela, South Africa; Nelson Mandela's second wife, anti-apartheid activist 6,107

150. Mike Jensen, South Africa; Internet researcher, tracker of Africa's Web trends 6,096

151. Jean-Pierre Bemba, Democratic Republic of Congo; Ugandan-backed rebel leader 6,081

152. Alan Paton, South Africa; politician, novelist, author, Cry My Beloved Country 6,027

153. Heath Streak, South Africa; cricket player 6,004

154. King Sunny Ade, Nigeria, musician 5,918

155. Habib Koite, Mali; singer, guitarist, one of leading Afro Pop artists 5,907

156. Gerald Asamoah, Ghana; player with World Cup 2002 German soccer team 5,835

157. Ian Smith, Zimbabwe; former white supremacist Prime Minister 5,824

158. Ramesses II, Egypt; Rameses II, Egypt; pharaoh of ancient Egypt 5,749

159. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Republic of Congo; rebel leader, later president 5,720

160. Wayne Black, Zimbabwe; men's ATP tour tennis player 5,646

161. Mory Kante, Mali; singer-songwriter, Yeke Yeke 5,640

162. Amanda Strydom, South Africa; singer, cabaret performer, and actress 5,635

163. Paul Tergat, Kenya; five-time world cross country champion, also fine at 10,000m 5,606

164. Thomas Mapfumo, Zimbabwe; singer, nicknamed the Lion of Zimbabwe 5,597

165. Amilcar Cabral, Guinea; politician, revolutionary, assassinated in 1973 5,577

166. Byron Black, Zimbabwe; men's ATP tour tennis player 5,557

167. Ptolemy VI, Egypt; sixth king of the Ptolemic dynasty 5,537

168. Obafemi Awolowo, Nigeria; influential politician, 1950s provincial prime minister 5,351

169. Benjamin Mkapa, Tanzania; president, elected for two terms, starting 1995 5,319

170. Abdou Diouf, Senegal; tall, 6ft 7in, second president, lost 2000 election to Wade 5,290

171. Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia; former president 5,288

172. Samuel Eto'o, Cameroon; football striker 5,285

173. Grant Flower, Zimbabwe; left arm cricket spinner 5,273

174. Robert Guei, Ivory Coast; military leader, in 1999 coup, killed 2002 attempted coup 5,270

175. Jerry Rawlings, Ghana; two-time military coup leader, later civilian president 5,239

176. Mariama Bâ, Senegal; female novelist, 1980 Une si longue lettre (So Long A Letter) 5,169

177. Bakili Muluzi, Malawi; president since 1994, set off anti-corruption campaign 5,153

178. Ketumile Masire, Botswana; president, late 1990s Congo peace facilitator 5,147

179. Finidi George, Nigeria; football winger, in English team Ipswich Town 5,125

180. Emmanuel Milingo, Zambia; rebel Catholic archbishop, 2001, wed Maria Sung 5,104

181. Ange-Félix Patassé, Central African Republic; president, survived 2002 coup 5,064

181. Wilson Kipketer, Kenya; Kenyan-born Danish athlete, 800m world record holder 5.064

183. Tsitsi Dangarembga, Zimbabwe; female author, Nervous Condition, also film maker 5,061

184. Jacob Zuma, South Africa; deputy president, to Thabo Mbeki 5,053

185. Augustine ("Jay-Jay") Okocha, Nigeria; footballer, 2002 World Cup captain 5,035

186. Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Ivory Coast; president, built world's largest Basilica 4,944

187. Samora Machel, Mozambique; first president, died in 1986 plane crash 4,924

187. Jonathan Rhodes, South Africa; cricket player 4,924

189. Khalid Khannouchi, Morocco; marathon world record holder 4,829

190. Ben Okri, Nigeria; writer, winner of 1991 Booker Prize for fiction, The Famished Road 4,823

191. John Garang, Sudan; leader of southern SPLA guerrilla group 4,780

191. Salomon Olembé, Cameroon; football midfielder, part of 2002 World Cup finals team 4,780

193. Khalilou Fadiga, Senegal; striker in 2002 World Cup finals in Japan, South Korea 4,769

194. Menes, Egypt; first ruler of first dynasty, founded the ancient city of Memphis 4,703

195. Thutmose III, Egypt; ancient Egyptian pharaoh 4,700

196. Alassane Ouattara, Ivory Coast; IMF director for Africa, later opposition leader 4,657

197. Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe; Black empowerment advocate, cabinet minister 4,651

198. Chris Hani, South Africa; secretary general of ANC party, later assassinated 4,628

199. Guy Whittall, Zimbabwe, cricket player 4,585

200. Beverley Naidoo, South Africa; children's author, winner of 2001 Carnegie medal 4,582

201. Salim Ahmed Salim, Tanzania; former Prime Minister, later secretary general, OAU 4,548

202. Rozalla, Zimbabwe; 1990s Pop singer, of 1991 hit Everybody's Free To Feel Good 4,539

203. Alek Wek, Sudan, southern Black refugee, turned international fashion model 4,505

204. Mswati III, Swaziland; king, famous for elaborate wife-search ceremonies 4,454

205. Maria Mutola, Mozambique; World, Commonwealth Olympic 800m track champion 4,399

206. Paul Biya, Cameroon; president, since 1982 4,368

207. Dodi al-Fayed, Egypt; companion to late Princess Diana, died in 1997 Paris crash 4,353

208. Mohamed Abdelaziz, Western Sahara; leader, Polisario Liberation front 4,319

209. Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria; 1980s military leader and architect of past army coups 4,316

210. Ahmed Sekou Toure, Guinea; first president, pan-African unity advocate 4,313

211. Tegla Loroupe, Kenya; former women's marathon world record holder 4,081

212. Henri Camara, Senegal; scored golden goal in 2002 World Cup quarter-final advance 4,049

213. Louis Botha, South Africa; first Prime Minister of Union of South Africa 4,027

214. Idriss Déby, Chad; president 4,012

214. Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia; president, led corruption probe of predecessor Chiluba 4,012

216. Mohammed Valli Moosa, South Africa; minister of tourism 3,980

217. Mengistu Haile Mariam, Ethiopia; ruthless military leader, led "Red Terror" purges 3,944

218. Phyllis Wheatley, Senegal; poet, taken as slave to America aged eight, 1761 3,926

219. Catherine Ndereba, Kenya; women's marathon world record holder 3,880

220. Henri Konan Bédié, Ivory Coast; former president, ousted by army in 1999 coup 3,877

221. Lansana Conté, Guinea; president since 1984 3,866

222. Pascal Lissouba, Republic of Congo; president, ousted, 1997, by Sassou-Nguesso 3,854

223. Noah N'geny, Kenya; 2000 Olympic 1,500 metres champion, upset rival El Gerrouj 3,852

224. Roger Milla, Cameroon; star of 1990 World Cup football quarter-final success 3,832

225. André Brink, South Africa; writer 3,839

226. Bennedict ("Benni") McCarthy, South Africa; football player, with national team 3,832

227. Alec Erwin, South Africa; 2002 minister for Trade and Industry 3,809

228. Pasteur Bizimungu, Rwanda; first post-genocide Hutu president, in 2000, resigned 3,803

229. Henry Olonga, Zimbabwe; 1990s cricket player 3,788

230. Nkosi Johnson, South Africa, late, 12 year-old HIV-positive AIDS activist 3,768

231. Amara Essy, Ivory Coast; starting 2001, OAU/African Union secretary general 3,751

232. Nawal el-Saadawi, Egypt; writer, outspoken feminine rights activist 3,746

233. Agostinho Neto, Angola; poet, first independence president 3,743

234. Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria; vice president under Olusegun Obasanjo 3,731

235. Nick Mallett, South Africa; former national Rugby coach, later Springboks coach 3,717

236. Bessie Head, South Africa; writer, Black father, white mother, born in mental asylum 3,681

237. Mary Leakey, Kenya; English-born archeologist, anthropologist, wife of Louis Leakey 3,680

238. Imhotep, Egypt; architect, designed the Step Pyramid of ancient Egypt 3,677

239. Louis Leakey, Kenya; anthropologist and archeologist, excavated at Oduvai gorge 3,654

240. Francis Arinze, Nigeria; Roman Catholic Cardinal, regarded as potential future Pope 3,638

240. Alistair Campbell, Zimbabwe, former national cricket captain 3,638

242. Ernest Wamba dia Wamba; Democratic Republic of Congo; 1990s rebel leader 3,631

243. Akhenaton, Egypt; 18th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt 3,628

244. Oliver Mtukudzi, Zimbabwe; 1970s, best-selling singer ever from Zimbabwe 3,627

245. Juvenal Habyarimana, Rwanda; president; death sparked off 1994 genocide 3,622

246. Mark Fish,

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