Famous South African Women

South African women have to be termed as extremely hard working, determined and resilient for they have endured—and fought against—numerous gender stereotypes and obstacles that threatened to curb their freedom from the past many centuries. South Africa, a land inhabited by a diverse population is primarily patriarchic and thus women have always been meted out substandard treatment. Situations started changing for the better only from the past few years, yet the women’s fight against patriarchy has been going on from long. Lucy Catherine Lloyd, an anthropologist working during the 19th century became the first woman to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Cape of Good Hope. With time situations improved for females, and the contemporary South African woman does not lag behind any of her counterparts in other countries.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite South African Women

 1 Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron.
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 7, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Benoni, South Africa

Charlize Theron is a former model and was an aspiring ballerina whose career came to a halt after a knee injury. However, an unexpected encounter brought her in the world of acting and she went on achieve tremendous success including winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. She is currently one of the world's highest-paid actresses.

 2 Candice Swanepoel

Candice Swanepoel.
2
Famous As: Supermodel
Birthdate: October 20, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mooiriver

Candice Swanepoel is a South African model known for her association with Victoria's Secret. In 2016, Swanepoel was ranked eighth among the top-earning models, according to Forbes. Also known for her charity work, Swanepoel works closely with mothers2mothers, a nonprofit organization that aims at averting mother-to-child transmission of HIV by providing support and education for pregnant women living with HIV.

Recommended Lists:

 3 Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya.
1
Famous As: Olympic Athlete
Birthdate: January 7, 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Polokwane, Limpopo, South African

 4 Belle Delphine

Belle Delphine.
17
Famous As: Cosplayer
Birthdate: October 23, 1999
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: South Africa
A social media personality with a big fan following, Belle Delphine is known for her glamour and cosplay modelling on Instagram. She also has a YouTube channel, a patron page and TikTok account. However, her videos and photographs, because of their suggestive nature, have attracted criticism and controversies too.

 5 Yolandi

Yolandi.
4
Famous As: Singer, Actress
Birthdate: December 1, 1984
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Port Alfred, Eastern Cape
South African rapper Anri du Toit, better known as Yolandi Visser, performs as part of the rap-rave group Die Antwoord, which has released hits such as Enter the Ninja. She has also starred in films such as Chappie. She is known for her signature blonde hair and outrageous fashion sense.

 6 Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
0
Famous As: Politician, Anti-Apartheid Activist
Birthdate: September 26, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bizana, Eastern Cape
Died: April 2, 2018
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had first met legendary anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela at a bus stop when she was barely 22. They ended up getting married the following year. Winnie’s journey was marred by bans and harassment by the South African government, but the determined social worker revolutionized South African politics.

 7 Sarah Baartman

Sarah Baartman.
0
Famous As: A Freak Show Attraction
Birthdate: 1787 AD
Birthplace: Gamtoos River, Kouga Local Municipality, South Africa
Died: 1815 AD
Sara Baartman, a popular subject of feminist criticism, was a South African Khoikhoi woman who was made a freak-show attraction, as the Hottentot Venus, in the 19th century, due to her large buttocks. She was a victim of the European men’s obsession with “exotic” Black women, whom they objectified.
You May Like

 8 Tosca Musk

Tosca Musk.
5
Famous As: Filmmaker, Entrepreneur
Birthdate: July 20, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pretoria, Transvaal

South African filmmaker, Tosca Musk, has produced and directed several TV programs, films, and web series. Beginning her career in the early 2000s, she teamed up with Jeff Macpherson to produce the web series, Tiki Bar TV. Her movie, Simple Things, received the California Independent Film Festival Slate Award. She is also the founder of the streaming service Passionflix.

 9 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters.
3
Famous As: Model, Miss Universe 2017
Birthdate: June 28, 1995
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sedgefield, Western Cape
South African model Demi-Leigh Tebow was named Miss South Africa 2017. She then won the Miss Universe 2017 pageant, thus becoming the second South African to win the pageant. A month after becoming Miss South Africa, Tebow was carjacked at Hyde Park but managed to escape using her self-defense skills.

 10 Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene.
0
Famous As: Princess consort of Monaco
Birthdate: January 25, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bulawayo
Charlene, Princess of Monaco, was once an Olympic swimmer and represented South Africa at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She met her husband, Prince Albert, at a swimming competition. She now owns the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and works for causes related to AIDS, sports, and underprivileged children.

 11 Glynis Johns

Glynis Johns.
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 5, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa

The veteran British actress who belongs to the Golden Age of Hollywood is known for her stellar roles in films like Miranda, Third Time Lucky and State Secret. Glynis Johns is also a singer, distinguished by her husky voice. She acted on the stage and the television. The daughter of actor, Mervyn Johns, has a son from her first marriage.

 12 Reeva Steenkamp

Reeva Steenkamp.
2
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: August 19, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cape Town
Died: February 14, 2013

Reeva Steenkamp was a British-South African model and TV personality. She had a successful career as a model before she was shot dead, at the age of 29, by Paralympic champion, Oscar Pistorius. Her death became international news and she was posthumously named SA Persons of the year along with Anene Booysen by the Daily Maverick in 2013.

 13 Alice Krige

Alice Krige.
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 28, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Upington

South African actor Alice Krige is best known for her roles in Chariots of Fire and Star Trek: First Contact. She played a dual role in Ghost Story and has been seen in a major role in the Netflix series The OA. She has also produced the film Jail Caesar.

 14 Charlene, Princess of Monaco

Charlene, Princess of Monaco
0
Famous As: Swimmer
Birthdate: January 25, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

 15 Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba.
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 4, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba was a South African singer, actress, songwriter, civil rights activist, and United Nations goodwill ambassador. One of the first African musicians to make an impact on the international stage, Makeba is credited with popularizing Afropop genres. She also advocated against apartheid through music and played a major role in the civil rights movement.

 16 Tanit Phoenix

Tanit Phoenix
0
Famous As: Actor, Television actor, Model
Birthdate: September 24, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Durban

 17 Juliet Prowse

Juliet Prowse.
2
Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: September 25, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mumbai
Died: September 14, 1996

Juliet Prowse was an actress and dancer whose stage, film, and TV career spanned 40 years. She gained prominence during the 1960s by appearing in films like Can-Can and G.I. Blues, which accentuated her dancing skills and her attractive legs. Towards the end of her career, Juliet Prowse hosted PBS' Championship Ballroom Dance Competition

 18 Cariba Heine

Cariba Heine.
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Johannesburg

Cariba Heine is an Australian actress and dancer known for playing important roles in TV series like H2O: Just Add Water and Blue Water High. Before establishing herself as an actress, Cariba Heine received training in tap dance, jazz dance, classical ballet, rhythmic gymnastics, and acrobatics. She is also a trained singer.

Recommended Lists:

 19 Ilana Kloss

Ilana Kloss
0
Famous As: Tennis player
Birthdate: March 22, 1956
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

 20 Tammin Sursok

Tammin Sursok
0
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Film actor
Birthdate: August 19, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Johannesburg

 21 Glynis Barber

Glynis Barber
0
Famous As: Actor, Film actor, Television actor
Birthdate: October 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Durban

 22 Jodi Balfour

Jodi Balfour
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 29, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

 23 Nadine Gordimer

Nadine Gordimer.
0
Famous As: Writer, Political Activist
Birthdate: November 20, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Transvaal, South Africa
Died: July 13, 2014

Nadine Gordimer was a South African political activist and writer. Gordimer, who wrote extensively on racial and moral issues such as apartheid in South Africa, was honored with the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. An important member of the anti-apartheid movement, Nadine Gordimer's advice to Nelson Mandela led to his famous 1964 defense speech, which eventually led to his conviction.

 24 Evelyn Mase

Evelyn Mase
1
Famous As: Nurse
Birthdate: May 18, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Transkei
Died: April 30, 2004

 25 Elize du Toit

Elize du Toit
0
Famous As: Actor, film actor
Birthdate: February 21, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Grahamstown, South Africa

 26 Brenda Fassie

Brenda Fassie
0
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 3, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Langa
Died: May 9, 2004

 27 Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais
0
Famous As: Actor, Film actor, Television actor, Model
Birthdate: January 29, 1985
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Johannesburg

 28 Leleti Khumalo

Leleti Khumalo
0
Famous As: Actor, Film actor
Birthdate: March 30, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Durban

 29 Arlene Dickinson

Arlene Dickinson
0
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: October 8, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Germiston

 30 Sibongile Mlambo

Sibongile Mlambo
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 25, 1990
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Zimbabwe

 31 Lara Logan

Lara Logan
1
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 29, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

 32 Prue Leith

Prue Leith
2
Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: February 18, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: South Africa

 33 Musetta Vander

Musetta Vander
0
Famous As: Actor, Film actor, Model
Birthdate: May 26, 1963
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Durban

 34 Helen Zille

Helen Zille
0
Famous As: Politician, Journalist
Birthdate: March 9, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Johannesburg

Helen Zille is a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician. A former journalist, Zille played a major role in exposing the cover-up surrounding the death of Steve Biko, a fellow anti-apartheid activist. In 2008, she was chosen as World Mayor of the Year.

 35 Louise Barnes

Louise Barnes
0
Famous As: Film actor, Television actor, Stage actor
Birthdate: April 26, 1974
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: KwaZulu-Natal

 36 Zindzi Mandela

Zindzi Mandela
0
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: December 23, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: July 13, 2020

Zindzi Mandela was a South African poet and diplomat best known as the daughter of the famous anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela. From 1996 to 1998, she also served as a temporary First Lady of South Africa. Over the years, she has been portrayed in films and TV films, such as Mrs Mandela (2009), Invictus (2009), and Mandela (1987).

 37 Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Yvonne Chaka Chaka
0
Famous As: singer
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Dobsonville

 38 Ela Gandhi

Ela Gandhi
0
Famous As: politician
Birthdate: June 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Durban
Ela Gandhi is a South African politician and peace activist whose immense contribution to society and politics is widely recognized. Over the years, she has been honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Community of Christ International Peace Award, Padma Bhushan award, Shanti Doot International Award, and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. 

 39 Lauren Brant

Lauren Brant
0
Famous As: Television personality
Birthdate: January 31, 1989
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa

 40 Zola Budd

Zola Budd
1
Famous As: Middle-distance runner, Marathon runner
Birthdate: May 26, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bloemfontein

 41 Baleka Mbete

Baleka Mbete
0
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 24, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Transvaal

Baleka Mbete is a South African politician who served as the deputy president of South Africa under President Kgalema Motlanthe. From 2014 to 2019, she also served as South Africa's Speaker of the National Assembly. One of the most controversial South African politicians in the recent past, Mbete is an associate of Tony Yengeni, who was accused of defrauding parliament.

 42 Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 27, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Natal Province

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is a South African anti-apartheid activist, politician, and doctor. One of the most popular South African politicians of her generation, Dlamini-Zuma has served as the country's minister of health, minister of foreign affairs, and minister of home affairs at different periods of time.

 43 Mary Renault

Mary Renault
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 4, 1905
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 13, 1983

 44 Janet Suzman

Janet Suzman
0
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Film actor, Television actor
Birthdate: February 9, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Johannesburg

 45 Mamphela Ramphele

Mamphela Ramphele
0
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 28, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Transvaal

 46 Zenani Mandela

Zenani Mandela
1
Birthdate: February 4, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius

 47 Albertina Sisulu

Albertina Sisulu
0
Famous As: Political activist
Birthdate: October 21, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tsomo, South Africa
Died: June 2, 2011

 48 Ruth First

Ruth First
0
Famous As: Author, Politician, University teacher, Writer, Journalist, Martyr, Political activist
Birthdate: May 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Johannesburg
Died: August 17, 1982

South African activist/journalist Ruth First is remembered for her relentless fight against apartheid. Born to Latvian immigrants and founders of the South African Communist Party, First was later tried for treason and detained. While working at a Mozambican university in exile, she was assassinated in a parcel bomb attack

 49 Sandra Prinsloo

Sandra Prinsloo
0
Famous As: Actor, Film actor, Television actor
Birthdate: September 15, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: South Africa

 50 Anneline Kriel

Anneline Kriel
0
Famous As: Actor, Model, Film actor, Beauty pageant contestant
Birthdate: July 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Witbank

Nadine Gordimer won a Nobel Prize for her writing and made her motherland proud as did the poet Elisabeth Françoise Eybers with her poems in Afrikaans which familiarized the world with South African culture. Actress Charlize Theron perfectly symbolizes what it means to be a South African with her strong character roles and disciplined off-screen persona. Browse this site to learn more about the various famous South African women who made this world a better place.