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



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South Africa; 1990s defender in national football team, Bafana Bafana 3,506

247. Richard Goldstone, South Africa; judge, headed reconciliation commission 3,456

248. Thomas Sankara, Burkina Faso; charismatic, assassinated military head of state 3,409

249. Milton Obote, Uganda; two-time president, policies led to Idi Amin's rise to power 3,387

250. Dennis Brutus, South Africa; poet, anti-apartheid activist, detained on Robben Island 3,364

250. Cara Black, Zimbabwe; women's tennis tour player 3,364

252. Oliver Tambo, South Africa; late president of African National Congress party 3,358

253. Ousmane Sembene, Senegal; film director and author of novel, God's Bits Of Wood 3,356

254. Breyton Paulse, South Africa; player with national Rugby team, The Springboks 3,351

255. Olara Otunnu, Uganda; former foreign minister, later UN special envoy for children 3,235

256. Geoffrey Oryema, Uganda; singer, Land Of Anaka, backup vocalist for Martin Paige 3,270

257. Thomas Mofolo, Lesotho; author, 1925, of Chaka Zulu, about great Zulu chief 3,227

258. Idris I, Libya; monarch, overthrown in 1969 military coup by Colonel Gaddafi 3,221

259. Penelope Heyns, South Africa; double Olympic swimming champion, 1996, Atlanta 3,215

260. David Houghton, Zimbabwe; cricket player 3,211

261. Boni Gnahore, Democratic Republic of Congo; Jazz pianist composer 3,180

262. Ismael Lo, Senegal; singer, guitarist, and harmonica player 3,172

263. Samuel Kuffour, Ghana; footballer, player in German team Bayen Munich 3,155

264. P.W Botha, South Africa; prime minister, later president 3,152

265. Roger Goode, South Africa; Disc Jockey 3,144

266. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Egypt; academic, condemned veteran human rights activist 3,119

267. Ike Quartey, Ghana; World Boxing Association welterweight champion 3,054

268. Samuel Doe, Liberia; former president, assassinated by rebels in 1990 3,032

269. Derartu Tulu, Ethiopia; in 1992; first Black African woman Olympic champion 3,006

270. Festus Mogae, Botswana; president, successor to Ketumile Masire 2,949

271. Ellis Ferreira, South Africa; ATP tennis player 2,919

272. Christian Barnard, South Africa; in 1967, conducted world's first heart transplant 2,909

273. Moshood Abiola, Nigeria; presidential candidate in annulled 1993 elections 2,906

273. Pierre Wome, Cameroon; national football team defender, played in 1998 World Cup 2,906

275. Menelik II, Ethiopia; king, in 1897, defeated Italian contingent in battle of Adowa 2,891

276. Taha Hussein, Egypt; one of Egypt's greatest ever writers, thinkers, died 1973 2,881

277. Anthony Yeboah, Ghana; 1990s national football player 2,874

277. Abebe Bikila, Ethiopia; bare-footed 1960, 1964 Olympic marathon champion 2,874

279. Mathieu Kérékou, Benin; president 2,869

280. Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Equatorial Guinea; president since 1979 2,814

280. Lamine Diack, Senegal; president, world athletics governing body, IAAF 2,814

282. Mohammed al-Fayed, Egypt; London-based businessman, father of Dodi al-Fayed 2,803

283. Andrè Arendse, South Africa; 2002 World Cup football team goalkeeper 2,787

284. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, Sierra Leone; lawyer, later president following civil war 2,762

285. King Menkaure, Egypt; ancient monarch 2,744

286. Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa; ANC secretary general, black labour union leader 2,742

286. Roger Telemachus, South Africa; cricket bowler 2,742

288. Franz Fanon, Algeria; Martinique-born author of book, The Wretched Of The Earth 2,722

288. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa; the first female foreign minister 2,722

290. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria; veteran political leader of independence struggle 2,694

291. Sam Mangwana, Democratic Republic of Congo; musician, Maria Tebola 2,671

292. Shehu Shagari, Nigeria; civilian president, ousted in army coup in 1983 2,668

293. Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt; First Lady, wife of President Mubarak, social activist 2,665

293. Abedi Pelé, Ghana; 1990s football striker, played for Italian team Torino 2,665

295. John Mashego, South Africa; professional golfer 2,649

296. Labi Siffre, Nigeria; Soul singer, 1987 hit song Something Inside So Strong 2,625

296. Aziz Pahad, South Africa; deputy minister of foreign affairs 2,625

298. Mornantau Hayward, South Africa; cricket pace man 2,610

299. Kipchoge Keino, Kenya; Olympic 1,500m and 3,000m Steeplechase champion 2,602

300. Bernard Lagat, Kenya; 2000 Olympic 1,500m bronze medallist 2,553

301. Frankie Fredericks, Namibia; silver, bronze Olympic medallist, Africa's fastest man 2,527

302. Albert Rene, Seychelles; president since the 1970s 2,516

302. Ahmed Ben Bella, Algeria; 1960s head of state 2,516

304. Elana Meyer, South Africa; women's 1992 Olympic 10,000 metres silver medallist 2,513

305. Raymond Kalla Nkongo, Cameroon; football defender, played in 1998 World Cup 2,496

306. Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe; attorney general 2,490

307. Corne Krige, South Africa; captain of national Rugby Union team, the Springboks 2,485

308. Raila Odinga, Kenya; opposition politician, presidential candidate 2,473

309. Hassan al-Turabi, Sudan; Islamic scholar, seen as effective power in Sudan 2,470

309. Patrick Suffo, Cameroon; footballer, 2002 World Cup team member 2,470

311. Manute Bol, Sudan; seven-footer, former NBA basketball player 2,453

312. Louis Motholo, South Africa; Jazz singer, guitarist 2,438

313. Fatuma Roba, Ethiopia; 1996 women's Olympic marathon champion 2,430

314. Liamine Zéroual, Algeria; briefly 1990s head of state 2,424

315. Philip Emeagwali, Nigeria; computer scientist, mathematician, Internet thinker 2,410

316. Gete Wami, Ethiopia; women's 1999 World 10,000m champion, also Cross Country 2,390

316. Moses Tanui, Kenya; long-distance athlete, two-time winner of Boston Marathon 2,390

318. John Kufuor, Ghana; head of state, following two decades of Ft. Lt. Jerry Rawlings 2,374

319. Andre Kolingba, Central African Republic; former head of state 2,353

320. Bernard Barmasai, Kenya; former world record holder, 3,000m steeplechase 2,348

321. Cheikh Lô, Senegal; dread-locked, leading new Afro Pop singer 2,347

322. Daniel Komen, Kenya; 3,000 metres world record holder 2,344

323. Moussa Traoré, Mali; 1970s, 1980s military leader, later 2002 civilian president 2,295

324. Tito Mboweni, South Africa; governor, South African central bank, the Reserve Bank 2,292

325. Ali Mazrui, Kenya; scholar, moderator of 1986 BBC TV series, The Africans 2,275

326. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria; first independence prime minister, killed in 1966 2,264

327. Pedro Pires, Cape Verde; president 2,235

328. Dale Benkenstein, South Africa; cricket player 2,212

329. Nuruddin Farah, Somalia; novelist, exiled 1974, for novel Sweet and Sour Milk 2,211

330. Joshua Nkomo, Zimbabwe; independence guerrilla leader, cabinet minister 2,201

331. Hendrik Verwoerd, South Africa; the last Prime Minister, Union of South Africa 2,175

332. Bryan Strang, Zimbabwe; cricket player 2,163

333. Rudolf Straeuli, South Africa; national Rugby team coach 2,147

334. Hossam Hassan, Egypt; set world record for most international football appearances 2,099

335. Lounes Matoub, Algeria; popular, assassinated Berber language singer 2,097

336. Noureddine Morceli, Algeria; former men's World 1,500 metres world record holder 2,093

337. Francis Obikwelu, Nigeria; sprinter, later run for Portugal 2,092

338. Hestrie Cloete, South Africa; women's Olympic high jump silver medallist, Sydney 2,087

339. Zackie Achmat, South Africa; HIV-positive activist, rejects anti-retroviral drugs 2,080

340. Simba Makoni, Zimbabwe; former minister of finance 2,072

341. Melchior Ndadaye, Burundi; president, assassination in 1993 sparked off civil war 2,066

342. Johnny Paul Koroma, Sierra Leone; former military leader 2,011

343. René Lacaille, Réunion; accordian player, singer of séga music 1,995

344. Wouter Basson, South Africa; apartheid-era germ warfare expert, acquitted of crimes 1,977

345. Govan Mbeki, South Africa; anti-apartheid activist, late father of Thabo Mbeki 1,960

346. Haile Gebreselassie, Ethiopia; World, Olympic 10,000m champion, record holder 1,957

347. Tony Yengeni, South Africa; former Chief Whip of the ANC party 1,947

348. Joe Slovo, South Africa; late leader of South African Communist party 1,946

349. Omar al-Bashir, Sudan; military leader since 1989 1,944

350. Mwai Kibaki, Kenya; former vice president, later head of DP opposition party 1,937

351. Glory Alozie, Nigeria; former national athlete, since 2000 competing for Spain 1,934

352. Patrick Viera, Senegal; football striker in French national team 1,926

353. Famoudou Konate, Senegal; musician, player of the Djembé drum 1,912

354. Kevin Volans, South Africa; also Irish citizen, since 1986, acclaimed international composer 1,905

355. Tony Leon, South Africa; leader of South African opposition Democratic Party 1,897

355. Youssef Boutros Ghali, Egypt; minister of the economy, since 1997 1,897

357. Mansa Musa, Mali; legendary ruler of Mali empire, made conspicuous trip to Mecca 1,894

358. Seyoum Mesfin, Ethiopia; foreign minister 1,882

359. Brenda Fassie, South Africa; performer of South Africa's all-time best-selling song 1,863

360. Gerald Majola, South Africa; head, United Cricket Board of South Africa 1,854

361. Helen Suzman, South Africa; Jewish politician and anti-apartheid activist 1,834

362. Lornah Kiplagat, Kenya; marathon runner, first African woman to win Osaka Marathon 1,808

363. John Nkomo, Zimbabwe; chairman of the ruling ZANU-PF party 1,804

363. Mosiuoa Lekota, South Africa; minister of defence 1,804

365. George Saitoti, Kenya; vice-president, in 2002 dismissed by President Moi 1,790

366. Safiya Hussaini, Nigeria; woman condemned by Islamic court in 2002 for adultery 1,777

367. Guy Berger, South Africa; Rhodes University head of journalism department 1,776

368. Henri Lopes, Republic of Congo; 1980s cabinet minister, also writer 1,768

369. Stefan Terblanche, South Africa; Rugby player 1,763

370. Tony Silva, Senegal; goalkeeper in 2002 Africa Cup of Nations, World Cup matches 1,762

371. Daniel Amokachi, Nigeria; footballer, English premier league, later Colorado Rapids 1,732

372. Chenjerai Hunzvi, Zimbabwe; termed "Hitler", led war veterans' seizure of white farms 1,716

373. Camara Laye, Guinea; writer, author of The Dark Child 1,696

374. Hezekiel Sepeng, South Africa; athlete, Olympic 800m silver medallist 1,696

375. Aaron Klug, South Africa; also British citizen, winner 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1,691

376. Francis Beybey, Cameroon; late singer-songwriter and poet 1,676

377. Stella Sigcau, South Africa; minister of Public Works 1,654

378. John Kani, South Africa; theatre producer, also film producer Sarafina!, 1992 1,651

379. Alfred Nzo, South Africa; former foreign minister, secretary general, ANC 1,647

380. Moses Kiptanui, Kenya; three-time world 3,000m steeplechase champion 1,637

381. Horemheb, Egypt; ancient pharaoh, of the 19th Dynasty 1,635

382. Leo Africanus, Tunisia; medieval African writer, traveler 1,633

383. Merzak Allouache, Algeria; film maker, Salut Cousin (1996) 1,624

384. Lobengula, South Africa; 19th century Zulu king of the Matabele people 1,616

384. Hissène Habré, Chad; former guerilla leader and later president 1,616

386. Ali Hassan Kuban, Egypt; singer of Nubian music, from Egypt-Sudan border region 1,599

387. Allan Boesak, South Africa; priest, anti-apartheid activist, disgraced over corruption 1,594

388. Nicky Oppenheimer, South Africa; chairman, De Beers, world's largest diamond firm 1,588

389. Chris Botha, South Africa; Rugby Union player 1,575

390. Khadja Nin, Burundi; singer of moody, fatalistic songs, Bolera 1,573

391. Houari Boumedienne, Algeria; former head of state 1,570

392. Birago Diop, Senegal; veterinarian, turned writer, author of Sarzan 1,552

393. Moufida Tlatli, Tunisia; Arab woman film director, 1994 The Silences Of The Palace 1,545

394. Mansour Seck, Senegal; blind musician, friend, touring partner of Baaba Maal 1,541

395. Christian Stals, South Africa; former governor of South African central bank 1,540

396. Haile Gerima, Ethiopia; filmmaker, of slavery-themed film Sankofa 1,527

397. Henry Akinwande, Nigeria; a leading 1990s world heavyweight contender 1,517

398. Constand Viljoen, South Africa; 1990s leader of right-wing Freedom Front party 1,513

399. Douglas Marillier, Zimbabwe; cricket bowler 1,510

400. Djibril Diop Mambety, Senegal; filmmaker, Touki Bouki, (1989) 1,497

401. Willem Rensburg, South Africa; politician, 19th century acting president of Transvaal 1,493

402. Walter Sisulu, South Africa; anti-apartheid activist, imprisoned with Nelson Mandela 1,469

403. Berhane Adere, Ethiopia; women's 3,000m world record holder 1,468

404. Joe Modise, South Africa; helped start ANC armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe 1,460

405. Tokyo Sexwale, South Africa; Black empowerment business executive 1,452

406. Parks Mankahlana, South Africa; president Mbeki's spokesman, died in 1999 1,443

407. Régis Gizavo, Madagascar; musician, player of the accordian 1,422

408. Agbani Darego, Nigeria, in 2001, first Black African winner of Miss World beauty title 1,421

408. Kamuzu Banda, Malawi; first independence Prime Minister, later president 1,421

410. Leon Schuster, South Africa; lead actor in hit film Mr Bones 1,414

411. Said Aouita, Morocco; men's 1984 Olympic 5,000m champion, world record holder 1,412

412. Joao Bernardo Vieira, Guinea-Bissau; president 1,409

413. Emeka Anyaoku, Nigeria; former Commonwealth secretary general 1,393

414. Gamal Nkrumah, Ghana; writer, Egypt's Al-Ahram weekly, son of Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah 1,386

415. Ravindu Shah, Kenya; cricket player 1,369

415. Brahim Boulami, Morocco; world 3,000m steeplechase record holder, failed drug test 1,369

417. Nicholas Biwott, Kenya; cabinet minister and influential figure in national politics 1,362

418. Dani Kouyaté, Burkina-Faso; film maker, 2002 Sia, le rêve du python 1,357

419. Lionel Mtshali, South Africa; Prime Minister of Kwa-Zulu Natal province 1,352

420. Roelf Meyer, South Africa; chairman, Civil Society Initiative of South Africa 1,350

421. Abdulsalam Abukakar, Nigeria; last military leader, 1999, before return to civilian rule 1,348

422. Albert Luthuli, South Africa; Zimbabwean-born 1960 Nobel Peace prize winner 1,347

422. Nezha Bidouane, Morocco; women's 1997, 2001 world 400m hurdles champion 1,347

424. John Fashanu, Nigeria; former football international, later accused of match-fixing 1,341

425. Wilson Boit Kipketer, Kenya; 1997 world 3,000m steeplechase champion 1,338

426. John Vorster, South Africa; former prime minister, assassinated in parliament 1,329

426. Nicephore Soglo, Benin; prime minister and later president 1,329

428. Irma Stern, South Africa; painter, her paintings mainly on landscape, still life 1,329

429. Hamilton Masakadza, Zimbabwe; youngest player to score century on debut Test 1,326

430. Tijani Babangida, Nigeria; football striker, played in 1998 World Cup finals 1,318

431. Terence Parkin, South Africa; deaf swimmer, Africa 400m indiv. medley record holder 1,311

432. Mamphela Ramphele, South Africa; World Bank director, once lover of Steve Biko 1,297

433. Pik Botha, South Africa; 1980s apartheid-era foreign minister 1,282

434. Charles Kamathi, Kenya; won 2001 world 10,000m title, in history's biggest upsets 1,281

435. Lamine Guèye, Senegal; politician, born in Mali, independence struggle leader 1,278

436. Richard Limo, Kenya; 2001 world 5,000m champion 1,277

437. Roosevelt Johnson, Liberia; 1990s warlord, rival of Charles Taylor 1,266

438. Mahmood Mamdani, Uganda; university political science lecturer, author 1,263

439. Bizima Karaha, Democratic Republic of Congo; foreign minister, later rebel official 1,261

440. Dean Hall, South Africa; Rugby player 1,254

441. Joseph Kony, Uganda; reclusive rebel leader, perpetuator of civilian atrocities 1,253

442. Assefa Mezgebu, Ethiopia; men's 2000 Olympic 10,000m silver medallist 1,250

443. Reuben Kosgei, Kenya; 2000 Olympic, 2001 world 3,000m steeplechase champion 1,249

444. Joseph Msika, Zimbabwe; 2000s vice president of Robert Mugabe 1,240

445. Victor Matfield, South Africa; Rugby player with Bulls team 1,238

446. Thomas Odoyo, Kenya; cricket player 1,231

447. Harry Oppenheimer, South Africa; Jewish billionaire, head of De Beers diamond firm 1,230

448. Fayza Hassan, Egypt; writer with Cairo weekly, Al-Ahram 1,223

449. Jean-Marie Teno, Cameroon; film maker, Aristotle's Plot (1996) 1,204

450. Peter Mokaba, South Africa; fiery official of ANC party, died 2002 1,199

451. Moussa Diallo, Mali; 1970s, 1980s singer, based in Denmark 1,192

452. Bheki Khumalo, South Africa; spokesman for President Thabo Mbeki 1,180

453. Frantz Kruger, South Africa; athlete, Africa discus record holder 1,163

454. Chadli Bendjedid, Algeria; former military head of state 1,155

455. Manuela Kamosi, DRCongo; a.k.a Ya Kid K, lead singer, 1980s band, Technotronic 1,153

456. Anant Singh, South Africa; producer, Mr Bones, country's highest-ever grossing film 1,141

457. Koo Nimo, Ghana; guitarist, leading folk musician from the Ashante tribe 1,135

458. Sarah Poewe, South Africa; the country's leading breaststroke swimmer 1,302

459. Justin Vali, Madagascar; musicisn, player of the valiha harp, heads Justin Vali Trio 1,221

460. Ibrahim Gambari, Nigeria; former UN representative, later UN under secretary 1,201

461. Simeon Nyachae, Kenya; opposition leader, player in Moi succession politics 1,180

462. Christiaan de Wet, South Africa; 19th century Boer general 1,174

463. Marike de Klerk, South Africa; former First Lady, found murdered in 2001 1,171

464. Christon Tembo, Zambia; former vice president, led revolt against President Chiluba 1,113

465. Jean-Bedel Bokassa, Central African Republic; made emperor at glittery 1977 event 1,111

466. Ismail Omar Guelleh, Djibouti; president, in 2000, brokered Somali peace talks 1,109

467. Blade Nzimande, South Africa; general secretary, South African Communist Party 1,108

467. Simon Biwott, Kenya; winner of the Berlin, Paris, and Rotterdam Marathons 1,108

469. Sobhuza II, Swaziland; king, ruled country for 61 years until his death in 1982 1,106

470. Nahawa Doumbia, Mali; female singer from Wassoulou region, 1988 debut album Didadi 1,358

471. Alexandre do Nascimento, Angola; Roman Catholic Cardinal 1,083

472. Busi Mhlongo, South Africa; 1970s singer, dancer, exiled for her political views 1,081

473. Tom Mboya, Kenya; 1960s foreign minister, helped draft first constitution, killed 1969 1,079

474. Ephat Mujuru, Zimbabwe; musician, of traditional Shona music, died in 2001 1,077

475. Sally Barsosio, Kenya; former world 10,000m champion 1,069

476. Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Tanzania; second president, opened economy to market forces 1,067

477. Khedive Ismail, Egypt; 19th century ruler of Egypt, laid ground for a modern state 1,063

478. Ibrahim Hussein, Kenya; three-time winner of Boston Marathon 1,059

479. Sol Kerzner, South Africa; Jewish multimillionaire tycoon, Casino chain owner 1,055

479. Wally Badarou, Benin; producer, co-producer of 1980s British Pop Band, Level 42 1,055

481. John Atta Mills, Ghana; former vice president under Jerry Rawlings, lost 2000 polls 1,052

482. Gaston Kabore, Burkina Faso; film maker, Buud Yam 1,046

482. Aster Aweke, Ethiopia; country's most popular ever female singer 1,046

482. Geoffrey Nyarota, Zimbabwe; editor, The Daily News, harassed by government 1,046

485. Kennedy Otieno, Kenya; cricket player 1,035

485. Werner Greeff, South Africa; fullback player for rugby team, The Springboks 1,035

487. Musalia Mudavadi, Kenya; cabinet minister, in 2002 considered presidential bid 1,034

488. Alpha Omar Konaré, Mali; 1990s president 1,029

489. Janet Balaskas, South Africa; Yoga teacher, author, childbirth books 1,027

490. Stanley Mogoba, South Africa; leader of hard line Pan African Congress party 1,025

491. Zola Budd, South Africa; bare-footed, former multiple world athletics record holder 1,019

492. Moven Mahachi, Zimbabwe; minister of defence, died in car crash, 2001 1,006

492. Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya; cabinet minister, part of 2002 KANU Rainbow Alliance 1,006

494. Ahmed Zewail, Egypt; Egyptian-born 1999 chemistry Nobel Prize winner 1,002

495. Moses Isegawa, Uganda; novelist, author of Abyssinian Chronicles 1,000

496. Adrian Jacobs, South Africa; Rugby centre player, national team, the Springboks 999

497. Francois Omam Biyik, Cameroon; scored first goal, 1990 World Cup soccer match 989

498. Anil Gayan, Mauritius; foreign minister 988

499. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia; politician, first ever female presidential candidate 978

500. Falilat Ogunkoya, Nigeria; women's Africa 400m hurdles record holder 968

501. Sadiq al Mahdi,

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