African trailblazers

Creative and illustrator, Karabo Poppy
Creative and illustrator, Karabo Poppy

As we celebrate Africa Day, we give recognition to some of the African “kings” and “queens” doing amazing things and breaking boundaries. 

Dr Esther Mahlangu, South Africa

Dr Mahlangu is best-known for her paintings inspired by her Ndebele culture and is recognised around the world. Mahlangu recently had her artwork displayed on a R7 million customised Rolls Royce Phantom.

READ MORE: PICS: Mzansi celebs celebrate #AfricaDay 

Denis Mukwege, DRC

Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who founded and works at the Panzi Hospital where his focus is to assist victims of sexual assault and rape. He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 and continues to use the recognition to advocate for justice for survivors of sexual violence.

Black Coffee, South Africa 

The globally recognised music star has recently made a move that he calls “the first of many moves to change the landscape of SA’s — and the continent’s — music industry”. Coffee has acquired a stake in Gallo Music Investments and hopes to create an environment where artists and creatives will have an equitable stake in the industry.

READ MORE: Black Coffee throws a spectacular birthday celebration

Karabo Poppy, South Africa

A young South African creative and illustrator whose work was showcased on the famous Soweto Towers, on Google campaigns and one of Netflix’s popular productions, When They See Us. Poppy’s latest big move was designing her very own Nike shoes, and worn by global icons who include Lebron James.

READ MORE: Karabo Poppy unveiled as the new collaborator for the Nike By You collection

Lupita Nyong’o, Kenya

The Oscar-winning Kenyan-Mexican has starred in many famous films including Black Panther, Us and 12 Years a Slave, just to name a few. Nyong’o received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2019.


Sho Madjozi, South Africa

The “captain” of the Limpopo Champions League is making global waves and John Cena can definitely see her. From winning the Best New International Act at the 2019 BET Awards, to bagging the Favourite African Star award at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards this year – she is definitely on a roll.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigeria

Adichie is a world-renowned writer whose passion for her country and engaging talks about issues relating to race, gender and humanity led her to sharing a stage with former American First Lady Michelle Obama. She has recently appeared on the cover of British Vogue in September 2019, edited by guest-editor Meghan Markle.

Chimamanda’s Americanah to, finally, be brought to life!

Trevor Noah, South Africa

This comedian, political commentator and television host has won multiple awards –including Favourite African Star award at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2017, and nominated for a Grammy earlier this year for Best Comedy Album. Noah is currently the host of The Daily Show.

READ MORE: Trevor Noah is making money!

Nasty C, South Africa

This rapper, producer, singer and songwriter, has won many awards since entering the South African music industry in 2013. The young star has recently graced our screens on the second South African Netflix original Blood and Water and is the first- ever South African to join Def Jam Records.

READ MORE: 5 Minutes with Nasty C: The “Gold father” has just entered the building

Mohamed Salah, Egypt

This Egyptian footballer took the fields by storm, winning many titles including the Premier League Golden Boot 2017-18 and 2018-19 and the GQ Middle East Man of The Year Award in 2019.

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Anfield awaits...

A post shared by Mohamed Salah (@mosalah) on

Reporting: the Africa Report, Twitter

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