Biggest African-Born Success Story

by urbanemovies | created - 10 Aug 2016 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

Which African-born person excels the most at their chosen profession and is the biggest credit to their continent?

Discuss the topic here.

1. Nelson Mandela

Actor | Malcolm X

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013) was the former leader of the African National Congress (ANC). He was known for his lifelong struggle against apartheid (enforced racial separation), which was instituted in South Africa in 1948. The ANC was soon declared a terrorist ...

Born: July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, Union of South Africa [now South Africa]

2. Charlize Theron

Actress | Monster

Charlize Theron was born in Benoni, a city in the greater Johannesburg area, in South Africa, the only child of Gerda Theron (née Maritz) and Charles Theron. She was raised on a farm outside the city. Theron is of Afrikaner (Dutch, with some French Huguenot and German) descent, and Afrikaner ...

Born: August 7, 1975 in Benoni, Transvaal, South Africa

3. Freddie Mercury

Soundtrack | Metropolis

Freddie Mercury was born on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, sent him off to a private school in India, from 1955 til 1963. In 1964, he and his family flew to England. In 1966 he started his education at the Ealing College of Art, where he graduated in 1969. He ...

Born: September 5, 1946 in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

4. Elon Musk

Actor | Iron Man 2

Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa as Elon Reeve Musk. He is an actor and producer, known for Iron Man 2 (2010), Machete Kills (2013) and Thank You for Smoking (2005). He was previously married to Talulah Riley and Justine Musk.

Born: June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa

5. Omar Sharif

Actor | Lawrence of Arabia

Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor best known for playing Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and the title role in Doctor Zhivago (1965), was born Michel Demitri Shalhoub on April 10, 1932 in Alexandria, Egypt to Joseph Shalhoub, a lumber merchant, and his wife, Claire (Saada). Of Lebanese and ...

Born: April 10, 1932 in Alexandria, Egypt

6. Hakeem Olajuwon

Actor | Heaven Is a Playground

Hakeem Olajuwon was born on January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria as Akeem Abdul Olajuwon. He is an actor, known for Heaven Is a Playground (1991), All Pro Sports Basketball: Hakeem Olajuwon - Dream Center (1998) and Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters (2017). He has been married to Dalia Asafi since August ...

Born: January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria

7. J.R.R. Tolkien

Writer | The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

English writer, scholar and philologist, Tolkien's father was a bank manager in South Africa. Shortly before his father died (1896) his mother took him and his younger brother to his father's native village of Sarehole, near Birmingham, England. The landscapes and Nordic mythology of the Midlands ...

Born: January 3, 1892 in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa

8. Dikembe Mutombo

Actor | Juwanna Mann

Dikembe Mutombo was born on June 25, 1966 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo as Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacques Wamutombo. He is an actor, known for Juwanna Mann (2002), Uncle Drew (2018) and In Depth with Graham Bensinger (2010). He has been married to Rosario Mutumbo ...

Born: June 25, 1966 in Leopoldville, DR Congo

9. Gary Player

Actor | My Way II

Gary Player was born on November 1, 1935 in Johannesburg, South Africa as Gary Jim Player. He is an actor, known for My Way II (1977), Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000) and In Depth with Graham Bensinger (2010). He has been married to Vivienne Verwey since January 19, 1957. They have six children.

Born: November 1, 1935 in Johannesburg, South Africa

10. Neill Blomkamp

Director | District 9

Neill Blomkamp was born on September 17, 1979 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a director and writer, known for District 9 (2009), Elysium (2013) and Chappie (2015). He is married to Terri Tatchell. They have one child.

Born: September 17, 1979 in Johannesburg, South Africa

11. Steve Nash

Self | Life as We Know It

Steve Nash was born on February 7, 1974 in Johannesburg, South Africa as Steven John Nash. He is an actor and director, known for Life as We Know It (2010), Untitled Ecstasy Project and Into the Wind (2010). He has been married to Lilla Frederick since September 4, 2016. He was previously married ...

Born: February 7, 1974 in Johannesburg, South Africa

12. Trevor Noah

Writer | The Daily Show

Trevor Noah was born on February 20, 1984 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a writer and producer, known for The Daily Show (1996), Black Panther (2018) and Born a Crime.

Born: February 20, 1984 in Johannesburg, South Africa

13. Javier Bardem

Actor | Skyfall

Javier Bardem is the youngest member of a family of actors that has been making films since the early days of Spanish cinema.

He was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, to actress Pilar Bardem (María del Pilar Bardem Muñoz) and businessman José Carlos Encinas Doussinague. His maternal ...

Born: March 1, 1969 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

14. Eusébio

Self | Eusébio, la Pantera Negra

Eusébio was born on January 25, 1942 in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique as Eusébio da Silva Ferreira. He was married to Flora. He died on January 5, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Born: January 25, 1942 in Lourenço Marques, Portuguese Mozambique [now Maputo]

15. Yves Saint-Laurent

Costume_department | The Pink Panther

Yves Saint-Laurent was born on August 1, 1936 in Oran, Oran, France as Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent. He is known for his work on The Pink Panther (1963), Mississippi Mermaid (1969) and The Inheritor (1973). He died on June 1, 2008 in Paris, France.

Born: August 1, 1936 in Oran, Oran, French Algeria [now Algeria]

16. Hugo Weaving

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Hugo Wallace Weaving was born on April 4, 1960 in Nigeria, to English parents Anne (Lennard), a tour guide and teacher, and Wallace Weaving, a seismologist. Hugo has an older brother, Simon, and a younger sister, Anna, who both also live and work in Australia. During his early childhood, the ...

Born: April 4, 1960 in Ibadan, Nigeria

17. Desmond Tutu

Actor | Tutu's Children E01

Desmond Tutu was born on October 7, 1931 in Klerksdorp, South Africa as Desmond Mpilo Tutu. He has been married to Leah Nomalizo Shenxane since July 2, 1955. They have four children.

Born: October 7, 1931 in Klerksdorp, Western Transvaal, South Africa

Born: June 13, 1982 near Bekoji, Ethiopia

19. Youssou N'Dour

Soundtrack | Judge Dredd

Youssou N'Dour was born on October 1, 1959 in Dakar, Senegal. He has been married to Aida Coulibaly since 2006.

Born: October 1, 1959 in Dakar, Senegal

20. Djimon Hounsou

Actor | Blood Diamond

Djimon Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He moved to Lyon, France, when he was 13. Hounsou has graced the catwalks of Paris and London as a popular male model. He has since left his modeling career and has worked on Gladiator (2000) by Ridley ...

Born: April 24, 1964 in Cotonou, Benin

21. Jean Reno

Actor | Léon

Jean Reno was born Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez in Casablanca, Morocco, to Spanish parents (from Andalucía) who moved to North Africa to seek work. His father was a linotypist. Reno settled in France at 17. He began studying drama and has credits in French television and theater as well as films. ...

Born: July 30, 1948 in Casablanca, French Morocco [now Morocco]

22. Haile Selassie

Self | Bob Marley: The Making of a Legend

Haile Selassie was born on July 23, 1892 in Harar, Ethiopia as Ras Tafari Makonnen. He died on August 26, 1975 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Born: July 23, 1892 in Ejersa Goro, Ethiopia

23. Dave Matthews

Actor | Just Go with It

Dave Matthews was born on January 9, 1967 in Johannesburg, South Africa as David John Matthews. He has been married to Jennifer Ashley Harper since August 10, 2000. They have three children.

Born: January 9, 1967 in Johannesburg, South Africa



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