GREATEST AFRICANS IN THE HISTORY
1. Haile Selassie The last emperor of Ethiopia. A liberator of his country and the continent.
2. Kwame Nkrumah Former president of Ghana. He envisaged the African Union long before it became a reality. His footprints are still blueprint for us to follow.
3. Julius Nyerere Former president of Tanzania. A great leader who refused to allow the trappings of power to corrupt him. He was respected by his country, Africa and the rest of the world.
4. Robert Mugabe President of Zimbabwe. Fearless pan-Africanist of recent times who is ﬁghting for the land which belonged to his ancestors 5. Marcus Garvey A visionary pan-African leader and thinker. A practical man, he could have united all blacks if he had not been jailed.
6. Patrice Lumumba A pan African hero and symbol of African nationalism. A martyr of the African cause.
7. Martin Luther King African-American religious and political leader who changed the course of life for all African-Americans. His speech in 1968 “I have a dream” has become a classic.
8. Thabo Mbeki President of South Africa. The representative of the young generation of new African statesmen. A Renaissance man.
9. Malcolm X African-American political leader. His resistance against racism helped African-Americans to realize their dream.
10. Koﬁ Annan UN secretary general. Africa’s greatest diplomat of all time. He is handling the reforms at the UN in a calm and efﬁcient way.
11. Muhammad Ali Steve Biko Muammar Gaddaﬁ
The greatest boxer of all. “If you can do it, it ain’t bragging,” he once said. Civil rights activist. The loudest mouth in the world. South African activist tortured to death by the apartheid police. He famously said: “the greatest weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”. Lib yan Guide and African leader. He has realised you cannot defy the whole world. A rallying point for African heads of state.
12. Winnie Mandela The most popular woman in Africa. South Africa political leader and former wife of Nelson Mandela.
13. Shaka Zulu A Zulu king and military genius. An empire builder who wanted to unite all Zulu chiefdoms into one strong Zulu nation for the beneﬁt of all Zulus.
14. Chinua Achebe A gr eat Nigerian writer and recorder of African history. His ﬁrst book, Things Fall Apart, has sold 8 million copies worldwide and translated into 50 languages.
15. W. E. B. Du Bois African-American intellectual and political leader. The pioneer of African liberation and conscience-father of pan-Africanism.
16. Nelson Mandela A living legend. The symbol of Africa. Freedom ﬁghter. The most recognizable face in the world
17. Pele African-Brazilian footballer. The greatest. His feet and feats on the football pitch brought huge pride and honour to all blacks.
18. Bob Marle y Jamaican musician and creative genius. He touched the hearts and minds of millions worldwide.
19. Olusegun Obasanjo President of Nigeria. A former military ofﬁcer who voluntarily gave up power to civilians in 1979. He was returned to power in 1999 to save a worsening situation.
20. George Weah Liberian footballer and world best player in 2000. An icon of selﬂ essness who has provided ﬁnancial
help out of his own pocket to transport his country’s national team to a major tournaments.
21. Kenneth Kaunda Former president of Zambia and one of the few ﬁ rst generation independence leaders still alive. He pla yed a vital role in the African liberation struggle.
22. Cheikh A nta Diop Roger Milla Senegalese writer and one of Africa’s greatest historians. His work on Ancient Egypt has become a classic. Cameroonian footballer and one of the best in Africa. A huge role model for the African youth.
23. Gamal Abdel Nasser Former Egyptian president. The pioneer of Arab nationalism and unity.
24. Sir Seretse Khama Botswana’s ﬁrst president. He inherited an impoverished and little known obscure state and left an increasingly democratic and prosperous country.
25. Maheru Imhotep Historic ﬁgure. Imhotep was chief architect to the Third Dynasty King Djoser (2687-2668 BC). He was in charge of building and designing the step pyramid at Saqqara. N A_pgA12-23_0804.indd 16
26. Ahmed Sekou Toure Leopold Senghor F ormer president of Guinea who said No to General de Gaulle on the eve of independence. Gr eat nationalist. He declared Nkrumah co-President of Guinea. F ormer president of Senegal, great writer and intellectual. His philosophy on “Negritude” has become a classic. Africa ’s greatest poet and scholar-statesman.
27. Wole Soyinka Nigerian intellectual and writer. The ﬁrst African Nobel laureate in literature, ex celling as a playwright, poet and novelist – a vocal critic of Nigerian politics.
28. Maria Mutola Mozambican athlete, Olympic gold medallist, World 800m champion. She is a cheerful, modest, woman dedicated to her sport and country.
29. Sam Nujoma President of Namibia and great pan-Africanist leader. Though he is standing down in March 2005, his land reform programme is causing jitters.
30. Yaa Asantewaa Queen of Ejisu, Ghana, who led the Asantes in war against the British in 1900. A brave anti-colonial freedom ﬁghter.
31. A milcar Cabral Architect of the national liberation movement in Guinea Bissau. One of the greatest theoreticians of the African Revolution. Brutally assassinated in 1973 for his political beliefs.
32. Dedan Kimathi Kenyan political leader who led the ﬁght for independence from Britain. His ability to organise his people in the face of British colonialists was exemplary. He died a hero.
33. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti Great Nigerian musician whose words have come to pass in African contemporary politics.
34. Ken Saro Wiwa Nigerian writer and environmentalist who was executed for his beliefs. He aroused world attention to the plight of the oil-rich but poor Ogoni people.
35. Phillip Emeagwali Nigerian scientist domiciled in the USA. A supercomputer genius, he played a major r ole in making the internet a reality. His work has hugely beneﬁ ted the oil industry.
36. The African W oman Africa’s biggest asset. Cradle and pivot of African society. She holds it all together. She is beyond comparison, strong, resilient, full of grace and beautiful.
37. Rosa Parks African-American and “mother of the civil rights movement”.
38. Samor a Machel Liberation ﬁghter who became ﬁrst president of Mozambique. A true son of Africa whose ﬁght for freedom transcended his country.
39. Jesse Owens African-American sprinter who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and shamed Adolf Hilter to eat his own words about blacks.
40. Jomo Kenyatta Kenya’s first president. He was a beacon and rallying point for the country’s ﬁght for independence. The father of modern Kenya.
41. Michael Jackson The richest, successful, contr oversial and most famous African-American music superstar. The king of pop.
42. Abdoulaye Wade Yoweri Museveni President of Senegal. He led the opposition for decades, running and losing four times before winning in 2000. President of Uganda. He inherited a rundown country and resuscitating the economy.
43. Miriam Makeba South African diva known as Mama Africa. The Empress of African Song.
44. Queen Nzinga Queen of the Mbundu people of Angola. A ﬁerce anti-colonial female leader, she fought the Portuguese to stop the slave trade in the 17th century. At one meeting with the Portuguese governor, De Souza, there was only one chair in the room. This politically astute woman ordered one of her courtiers to become a human chair. Queen Nzinga then sat on the back of this courtier. It is reported that she never allowed the governor to gain the upper hand throughout their discussions.
45. Toussaint L’Ouverture Haitian leader who beat the French army under Napoleon and freed the African slaves in Haiti. He was later tricked by the French, captured and taken to France where he died in prison.
46. Milt on Obote Jay Jay Okocha Former Ugandan president, now exiled in Zambia, considered the father of the nation. T op Nigerian footballer whose skills have mesmerised many who have seen him play.
47. Nnamdi Azikiwe Statesman, Intellectual and Titan of African politics. First president of independent Nigeria. P opularly called ‘Zik of Africa’ for his pan-africanist zeal.
48. Walter Rodney Guyanese writer and great pan-African historian. His book, How Europe Undeveloped Africa, has become a must r ead. His life was cut short by a parcel bomb.
49. Franz Fanon A revolutionary writer. A great pan-African activist. He touched the hearts and minds of millions across Africa and the world with his powerful books.
50. F .W. de Klerk Ali Mazrui Former president of South Africa. He yielded power to black majority rule. Shar ed Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela. Tanzanian intellectual and writer. He presents a positive image of Africa and its people.
51. Joaquim Chissano President of Mozambique. He led his country into peace, national reconciliation and economic rise.
52. Joshua Nkomo Zimbabwean nationalist leader, and a key ﬁgure in the struggle against colonialism. One of the stalwarts of African nationalism.
53. Felix Konotey-Ahulu Ghanaian doctor practising in the UK. The greatest authority on sickle cell disease. A great champion of African causes in the medical world.
54. Oliver Tambo South African political leader and freedom ﬁghter. He emphasized the need to liberate the oppressor from his fears that lead to his oppressive ways.
55. Louis Farrakhan Victor Anomah Ngu Fearless African-American religious leader. A promoter of black self-improvement. Cameroonian doctor and discoverer of an Aids vaccine. Scientist who has now won the conﬁdence of his government and people.
56. Abedi Pele Marc Vivian Foe One of Ghana‘s foremost footballers, named by Pele as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers. Cameroonian footballer. Died on the football pitch ﬁ ghting like an African warrior.
57. Walter Sisulu Hero among heroes of the black struggle in South Africa. He was jailed on the same da y as Nelson Mandela and spent the same 27 years in prison.
58. Youssou N’Dour Senegalese musician with a prodigious talent. One of the greatest singing voices in Africa.
59. Akhenaten A black pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. He introduced the concept and worship of one god adopted centuries later by Christianity and Islam. His wife was Queen Nerﬁtiti.
60. George Padmore Trinidadian champion of decolonisation who came to personify the hopes and aspirations for black freedom throughout the Caribbean and Africa.
61. Abdelaziz Bouteﬂika Alpha Oumar Konare Algerian president and veteran of the country’s war for independence from France. Former Malian president, credited with boosting his country’s economy and fostering its democratic processes. He now chairs the African Union Commission.
62. Anwar Sadat Former Egyptian president who helped to end a longstanding conﬂict between his country and Israel. He was assassinated by extremists in 1981.
Read also10 quotes from Patrice Lumumba
63. John Hendrik Clark e African-American historian and writer. His work on black hist ory is a masterpiece.
64. Maya Angelou Internationally respected African-American poet, writer and educator. I know Why the Caged Bird Sings is one of her best-selling titles.
65. Hannibal Perhaps the greatest military strategist of all time. A great African general who gave Europe a run for its money. His victory over Rome after scaling the Alps with his huge army brought him enormous respect and admiration. His strategies and tactics are taught in military schools to this day.
66. Bill Cosby African-American entertainment icon. One of the most inﬂuential stars in America today.
67. Chief Hosea Kutako Namibian chief who inspired the Hereros and other Namibians to ﬁght for justice and national liberation. He alerted the world to the plight of Namibia’s suffering natives.
68. Obafemi Awolowo Nigerian statesman and one of the founders of the Nigerian Trades Union Congress. He believed that the state should channel Nigeria’s resources into education and development.
69. Oliver Mthukuzi Zimbabwean musician who through his music successfully portrays the hardships that Africans endure, particularly in his home country.
70. Tafewa Balewa The ﬁrst prime minister of Nigeria assassinated in the 1966 coup, that usher ed in a prolonged period of political turbulence and eventually led to civil war.
71. Ahmed Baba (of Timbuktu) The gr eatest scholar, intellectual and proliﬁc writer of the16th century. For 30 years, he headed the famous Sankore University in Timbuktu which became the centre of the world’s scientiﬁc knowledge.
72. Tom Mboya A popular Kenyan politician whose assassination in 1969 has still not been satisfactorily explained.
73. Williams Sisters ( Venus & Serena) African-American tennis superstars who have radically changed the face of the game. The y have become huge role models for black youth across the world.
74. Hendrik Witbooi A r enowned Namibian chief and a great military strategist who helped start Namibia ’s proud anti-colonial resistance.
75. Hamilt on Naki The unsung South African surgical pioneer. He made an immeasurable contribution to the ﬁrst human heart transplant performed by Dr Christian Barnard.
76. Khoisan and Pygmies Their knowledge of nature is world class. We can learn a lot from them on how to take care of the environment. Their knowledge of African herbs, plants and trees to treat ailments is incommensurable.
77. Hugh Masekela South African trumpeter and jazz musician. Through his music, he informed the international community about the injustices of the apar theid system.
78. Luambo Makiadi (aka F ranco) A Congolese and one of Africa’s most illustrious musicians. His Rhumba music put him in a class of his own, and earned him a huge and devoted following.
79. Zumbi (of Palmares) African-Brazilian slave and freedom ﬁghter. A legend, warrior and symbol of freedom. He was beheaded for helping other slaves to freedom
80. Manu Dibango F amed saxophonist nicknamed The lion of Cameroon. He has made an enormous contribution to African music and is the continent’s best-known jazz saxophonist.
81. Queen Nefertiti Egyptian Queen famed throughout the ancient world for her outstanding beauty, The wife of Akhenaten, she is one of the most well-known queens of Ancient Egypt.
82. Zinedine Zidane The world’ s most decorated soccer star.His ability to turn a game in his favour, and the way he bends the ball ar ound defenders, makes him one of the most admired footballers.
83. Peter Abrahams Proliﬁc South African novelist, essayist and pan-Africanist whose early novel Mine Bo y (1946) was the ﬁrst to depict the dehumanising effect of apartheid and racism.
84. Salif Keita A great musician from Mali. One of the world’s inﬂuential artistes.
85. The African Child Resilient in the face of adversity and yet exude bright smiles that warms our hearts and lightens our society. Great survivor.
86. William Tubman Former president of Liberia. He played an important role in the formation of the OAU and peacekeeping during the Nigerian civil war.
87. Queen of Sheba A powerful Ethiopian monarch who swept King Solomon of the Bible off his feet with her beauty. One of the best known queens in history.
88. Moshood Abiola The president Nigeria never had. He won the 1993 presidential election but was denied his crown. A successful businessman, publisher and philanthropist.
89. Eddy Murphy African-American top entertainer and actor who has inspired many young ones to follow in his footsteps. A great fun.
90. Houphouet Boigny Former president of Cote d’Ivoire who won independence for his country and led it to economic success. After his death, the country has never been the same. 91. Brenda Fassie the African Madonna whose musical talents and exuberance overshadowed her turbulent lifestyle. She was a hit with the younger generation.
92. Archbishop Luwum Uganda religious leader assassinated by Idi Amin’s regime for his outspokenness against governmental excesses.
93. John Chilembwe Great but unsung Malawian hero who fought the British colonial government and died for it. In Malawi all the denominations of the currency bear his portrait in his honour.
94. Cardinal Arinz. A Nigerian religious leader widely respected inside and outside the Vatican. A hotshot in the r ace for the next pope.
95. Mansa Musa The gr eat king of the old Mali Empire who dazzled the world with his wealth on his pilgrimage to Mecca laden with gold.
96. Thierry Henri Black footballer, born in France. Currently considered the best striker in the world.
97. Neville Livingstone (aka Bunny W ailer) Godfather of reggae music. The most underrated member of the Wailers.
98. Eduardo Mondlane Mozambican freedom ﬁghter. As president of FRELIMO, he successfully promoted a coalition with the different independence movements in the country.
99. Desmond T utu “The voice of the voiceless”. South African religious leader and political activist. He won the Nobel P eace Prize in 1984.
100. Helen Suzman South African politician, world-famous as a white opponent of apartheid.
101. Modibo Keita was the first President of Mali. Born on June 4, 1915 in Bamako, Mali, Modibo Keita was a teacher who was very interested in the fight for freedom of Africans from Colonial domination