Trevor Noah is a writer, political commentator, comedian and television host and hosts the American satirical news programme, The Daily Show. He has also hosted several other shows, including the late-night talk show, Tonight with Trevor Noah. He is an actor too. He has written an autobiographical book, Born A Crime, and has received numerous accolades and awards, including the Emmy Award.
AB de Villiers, also known as “Mr. 360” and “Superman,” has captained the South African cricket team in Tests, ODIs, and T20s. Named the ICC ODI Player of the Year thrice, the Wisden "cricketer of the decade" is a devout Christian, has written an autobiography, and released a pop album.
From being an infant whose both legs were amputated below knee, Oscar Pistorius went on to become a top athlete with wins in Paralympic Games and other sporting events. The South African sprinter also became the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympics Games. However, later, he was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend and is currently imprisoned.
Jacob Zuma is a South African politician and fourth president of South Africa. During his presidency, which lasted from 2009 to 2018, Zuma was accused of racketeering and corruption which ultimately led to his resignation. Apart from being a politician, Zuma also runs the Jacob Zuma Foundation, which aims at building houses for the poor and sending children to school.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom, Shaka reigned as the king of the Zulu Kingdom from 1816 to 1828. Through a series of influential and wide-reaching reforms, Shaka was able to re-organize the Zulu military into a formidable force. His life and work inspired the 1986 South African TV series, Shaka Zulu.
Civil rights activist Steve Biko, or the Father of Black Consciousness, is remembered for his work against apartheid in South Africa. He founded the Black Consciousness Movement while still a medical school student. He was banned by the pro-apartheid regime in 1973. He was beaten to death in custody.
10 Gary Player
Sharlto Copley is a South African actor best known for playing important roles in science fiction films, such as District 9, Elysium, Europa Report, Chappie, and Hardcore Henry. His portrayal of Wikus van der Merwe in District 9 earned him several accolades including a couple of IGN Movie Awards.
12 Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter was a South African photojournalist whose photograph titled the vulture and the little girl, which depicted the 1993 famine in Sudan, earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1994. Carter committed suicide in 1994 after suffering from depression. A book titled The Bang Bang Club, which was later made into a film, depicts his story.
Cyril Ramaphosa is a politician and the current president of South Africa. Also the president of South Africa's popular political party African National Congress (ANC), Ramaphosa played a key role during the nation's transition to democracy during which he served as ANC's chief negotiator. He also played a crucial role in ending apartheid and was considered Nelson Mandela's political heir.
14 Hashim Amla
One of the best ODI bastmen in the world, South African cricketer Hashim Amla has made many records, from being the fastest to reach 20 ODI centuries to being the fourth player to score centuries against all Test-playing nations. He was also the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2013.
15 Ernie Els
Ernie Els is a South African golfer renowned for his fluid golf swing and imposing physical stature, which has earned him the nickname, The Big Easy. A former World No. 1, Els has four major championships under his belt. Ernie Els is only one of six golfers to twice win the Open Championship as well as the U.S. Open.
Born to stage-actor parents in South Africa, Arnold Vosloo is best known as Imhotep from The Mummy franchise. He is also often mistaken for Billy Zane from Titanic for his uncanny resemblance to the actor. The Dalro Award-winning actor has also appeared in series such as 24 and Bosch.
Born to a South African father and an English mother, former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen still holds the record for being the fastest to make 2,000 ODI runs. Named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year, he was also nicknamed “shining” once, for his phenomenal contribution to the England team.
19 John Kani
John Kani is a South African actor, playwright, director, and author. He is best known for playing T'Chaka in American superhero films, such as Black Panther and Captain America: Civil War. One of the few South African actors to achieve international recognition, John Kani was included in the Top 100 Great South Africans list, which was published in 2004.
Born in South Africa, Neill Blomkamp later moved to Canada. He began his career as a 3-D and special effects artist and later turned to direction. He is known for his documentary-style filmmaking that uses the cinéma vérité technique. Two of his best-known sci-fi films are District 9 and Elysium.
Basil Rathbone was an English actor best remembered for playing private detective Sherlock Holmes in 14 movies made between 1939 and 1946. Renowned for playing morally ambiguous characters, Rathbone won the prestigious Tony Award for his portrayal of Dr. Austin Sloper in The Heiress. Basil Rathbone has been honored with three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
22 Lucky Dube
23 Caspar Lee
British-South African social-media sensation and YouTuber Caspar Lee soared to fame with his comedy videos. He later also stepped into acting with films such as Spud 3. A budding entrepreneur, he co-owns the student housing company Proper Living and has been featured on Forbes 30 Under 30.
Wayde van Niekerk is a South African athlete who competes as a sprinter in the 200 and 400 metres. He is the current Olympic and world record holder in the 400 metres. Wayde van Niekerk holds the world record in the 300 metres as well. He won the gold medal in the 400 metres event at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Kevin Anderson is a South African tennis player who became the fifth-ranked player in the world in 2018. He is the first South African player to be ranked in the top five since 1985 when Kevin Curren was ranked fifth in the world. Anderson has reached two Grand Slam finals; US Open (2017) and Wimbledon (2018).
Faf du Plessis is a South African cricketer who captained the national team in the ODI format from 2013 to 2019. He has also captained the national team in the other two formats of the game. He became the first South African player to score centuries in ODI, T20, and Test cricket after he scored his first T20I century in 2015.
Justin Gabriel is a South African wrestler best known for his achievements in WWE; he is a three-time WWE Tag Team Champion with Heath Slater. He also won two Slammy Awards during his time in WWE. In 2011, he was ranked 61st in the PWI 500 list.
28 Jan Smuts
Jan Smuts was a South African military leader, statesman, and philosopher. He played a key role in the formation of the Union of South Africa and helped shape its constitution. From 1919 to 1924 and again from 1939 to 1948, he served as the Union of South Africa's prime minister. He played a major role in establishing the United Nations.
Chris Barnard was a South African cardiac surgeon best remembered for performing the first human-to-human heart transplant surgery in the world. Barnard is credited with developing a cure for intestinal atresia in children. He saved the lives of at least 10 babies in Cape Town and his technique was adopted by surgeons in the United States of America and Britain.
30 Adam Rose
Raymond John Leppan, better known by his ring name, Adam Rose, is a retired South African wrestler. He once described himself as the “life of the party” and has also represented NXT and WWE. He was also part of an E:60 documentary titled Behind the Curtain.
31 Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mbeki is a South African politician who is currently serving as the chancellor of the University of South Africa. From 1999 to 2008, he served as the president of South Africa. During his tenure as the president, the South African economy grew, creating employment opportunities. Over the years, he has received several awards, including the prestigious Good Governance Award.
Nobel Prize- and two-time Booker Prize-winning author J. M. Coetzee had started his career as a Fulbright scholar. After teaching English in the U.S. and South Africa, he now lives and teaches in Australia. He is best known for his colonial settings in novels such as Waiting for the Barbarians.
33 Kyle Edmund
Today an ace professional tennis player, Kyle Edmund was introduced to the game at the age of ten. He made his breakthrough on the junior circuit at sixteen and debuting at Davis Cup at twenty. A top ranked male British player in 2018-2019, having a career-high singles world ranking of 14, he is currently ranked at 104 because of chronic knee injury.
34 Ahmed Deedat
Ahmed Deedat was a South African public speaker and writer of Indian descent. A popular Muslim missionary, Deedat is remembered for his inter-religious public debates with Christians. He is credited with establishing an Islamic missionary organization called IPCI. In 1986, he was honored for his missionary work with the prestigious King Faisal International Prize.
35 Chad le Clos
Olympic gold medalist South African swimmer Chad le Clos, who plays for the club Energy Standard, also holds records in the 50- and 100-m butterfly categories in the Commonwealth Games. He is one of his nation’s most-decorated Olympians but failed to get a medal in the 2020 Olympics.
The first six-time CSA award winner, South African cricketer Kagiso Rabada also became the eighth Proteas bowler to take 200 Test wickets, beating the likes of Allan Donald. He has, however, often been seen breaking ICC rules on the field and was also in trouble once for shouldering Steven Smith.
37 Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir is a professional cricketer who represents the South African national team. In 2016, he became the fastest South African bowler to reach 100 wickets in the ODI format. In 2018, he became only the fourth South African bowler to take a hat-trick in ODIs. Tahir is currently South Africa’s highest wicket-taker in ODIs and T20Is among spin bowlers.
A pioneer of South African jazz, instrumentalist Hugh Masekela excelled in the trumpet and introduced South African music to countries such as the U.S. He was also a vocal anti-apartheid activist, played for the Jazz Epistles, and was known for his iconic albums such as Hope and Johannesburg.
Julius Malema is a South African activist and politician. He is credited with founding a South African political party called the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), for which he currently serves as the president and commander-in-chief. One of the most controversial politicians in South Africa, Malema was charged with racketeering, money laundering, and fraud in 2012.
40 Adhir Kalyan
Adhir Kalyan is a South African actor best known for playing Timmy in the American sitcom television series Rules of Engagement. He is also known for portraying the role of Awalmir "Al" Karimi in a television sitcom series titled United States of Al. Born into an Indian South African family, Kalyan is often cast to play characters of Asian origin.
41 Sobhuza II
Sobhuza II was the king of Swaziland from 1899 to 1982, although his coronation took place in 1921 as he was too young to rule early in his reign. His reign of 82 years and 254 days makes him the longest-reigning monarch in recorded history. Sobhuza II played a key role in events that eventually led to his country's independence.
South African former footballer Benni McCarthy had played for a number of European clubs, such as Ajax Amsterdam, before moving on to the South African club Orlando Pirates. He also represented Bafana Bafana, the South African national team, in the 1998 World Cup and African Cup of Nations.
Hansie Cronje was a South African international cricketer. He captained the South African national cricket team in the 1990s. In 2000, he was implicated in a cricket match-fixing scandal and banned from the sport for life. He died in a plane crash in 2002. It was rumored that he was murdered on the orders of a cricket betting syndicate.
Johann Rupert is a South African-born businessman best known as the son of famous business magnate Anton Rupert. Johann is currently serving as the chairman of a luxury goods company called Richemont. In 2019, he was named the second-wealthiest person in South Africa when he was featured in Forbes magazine's The World's Billionaires list.
Joost van der Westhuizen was a South African rugby player. He took part in three Rugby World Cups, helping his national team win the 1995 World Cup. Widely regarded as the greatest scrumhalf in the history of the game, van der Westhuizen was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007.
46 Oliver Tambo
Oliver Tambo was a South African revolutionary and politician who played an important role in the anti-apartheid movement alongside Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. In 1943, he helped found the ANC Youth League and later served as the African National Congress' president. He is also remembered for organizing several guerilla units that facilitated attacks against the apartheid state.
47 P. W. Botha
48 Paul Kruger
Paul Kruger was a South African politician who served as the last State President of the South African Republic. Revered by his admirers as a tragic folk hero, Kruger was one of the most influential military and political personalities in 19th-century South Africa. His life inspired the 1941 German film Ohm Krüger, in which Kruger was played by Emil Jannings.
Francois Pienaar is a former rugby player who captained the South African national team from 1993 to 1996. He is best-known for helping his team win the 1995 Rugby World Cup. In 2004, he was ranked 50th in a list named Top 100 Great South Africans. In 2005, he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.
50 Shaun Morgan
Shaun Morgan is a South African singer-songwriter and musician. Morgan has been the longest-serving member of the popular rock band Seether where he plays the guitar and contributes with lyrics and vocals. Shaun Morgan is regarded as one of South Africa's most influential and popular rock guitarists of his generation.