Famous South African Activists

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 Activists

 1 Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu
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Famous As: Anti-Apartheid Activist
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Desmond Tutu is known for his anti-Apartheid activism in South Africa. The first black Archbishop of Cape Town, he has also been the Bishop of Johannesburg. His efforts to eradicate AIDS, poverty, anti-LGBT sentiments, and human rights violations earned him the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 2 Steve Biko

steve biko
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Famous As: Anti-apartheid Activist
Birthdate: December 18, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: South African
Died: September 12, 1977

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.

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 3 Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
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Famous As: Politician, Anti-Apartheid Activist
Birthdate: September 26, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
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.

 4 Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 4, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African
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.

 5 Mangosuthu Buthelezi

Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 27, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: South African

 6 Walter Sisulu

Walter Sisulu
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: May 18, 1912
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: South African
Died: May 5, 2003

 7 Nkosi Johnson

Nkosi Johnson
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: February 4, 1989
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: South African
Died: June 1, 2001
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 8 Albertina Sisulu

Albertina Sisulu
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Famous As: Political activist
Birthdate: October 21, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: June 2, 2011

 9 Ruth First

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

 10 Kumi Naidoo

Kumi Naidoo
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Famous As: human rights activist
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Nationality: South African

 11 Fatima Meer

Fatima Meer
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 12, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: South African
Died: March 12, 2010

 12 Roy Campbell

Roy Campbell
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 2, 1901
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: April 23, 1957

 13 Allan Boesak

Allan Boesak
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Famous As: Clergyman
Birthdate: February 23, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African

 14 Dennis Brutus

Dennis Brutus
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 28, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: South African
Died: December 26, 2009

 15 Adelaide Tambo

Adelaide Tambo
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Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: July 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: South African
Died: January 31, 2007

 16 Steve Tshwete

Steve Tshwete
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 12, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: South African
Died: April 26, 2002

 17 Alex La Guma

Alex La Guma
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: South African
Died: October 11, 1985

 18 Harry Gwala

Harry Gwala
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Famous As: South African leader
Birthdate: July 30, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: South African
Died: June 20, 1995

 19 Elsa Joubert

Elsa Joubert
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: South African
Died: June 14, 2020

 20 Dullah Omar

Dullah Omar
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: May 26, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: South African
Died: March 13, 2004

 21 Lungile Pepeta

Lungile Pepeta
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Famous As: Cardiologist, Academic
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Nationality: South African
Died: August 7, 2020

 22 Clarence Mini

Clarence Mini
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Famous As: Doctor
Birthdate: November 6, 1951
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: South African
Died: May 12, 2020

 23 Ellen Kuzwayo

Ellen Kuzwayo
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 29, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: South African
Died: April 19, 2006

 24 Victoria Chitepo

Victoria Chitepo
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 27, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: South African, Zimbabwean
Died: April 8, 2016

 25 Mary Benson

Mary Benson
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: December 8, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: South African
Died: June 19, 2000

 26 Percy Qoboza

Percy Qoboza
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: January 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: South African
Died: January 17, 1988

 27 Nico Smith

Nico Smith
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Famous As: Church Minister
Birthdate: 1929 AD
Nationality: South African
Died: June 19, 2010

 28 Oscar Mpetha

Oscar Mpetha
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Famous As: South African political activist
Birthdate: August 5, 1909
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: South African
Died: November 15, 1994

 29 Colin Legum

Colin Legum
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: January 3, 1919
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: South African
Died: July 8, 2003

 30 Thenjiwe Mtintso

Thenjiwe Mtintso
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Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: November 7, 1950
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: South African