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.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist middle-distance runner Caster Semenya in an intersex woman, with high testosterone levels. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was asked to take medication to decrease her testosterone levels, to participate in the 2021 Olympics women’s events, and filed a case in the European Court of Human Rights.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
12 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.
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.
14 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.
15 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.
16 Ilana Kloss
Former professional tennis player, Ilana Kloss is also a tennis coach, and commissioner of World TeamTennis, since 2001. She was the World's No. 1 ranked doubles player in 1976 and World No. 19 in singles in the year 1979. Born in Johannesburg, the Jewish player won the US Open doubles and mixed doubles championship on the 35-and-over tour, in 1999.
17 Allan Donald
Allan Donald is a South African former cricket player best known for his fast-paced deliveries that earned him the nickname White Lightning. Regarded as one of South Africa's most successful fast bowlers, Donald was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2019. After retiring from international cricket, Donald has focused on establishing himself as a coach.
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.
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.
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.
21 Nick Price
Nick Price is a Zimbabwean golfer who was considered the best player in the world in the mid-1990s; he was ranked number one as per the Official World Golf Ranking. He has won three major championships including two PGA Championships. In 2003, Nick Price was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
22 Dale Steyn
The son of a mine worker, South African fast bowler Dale Steyn is known for his mercurial on-field persona and for his swing and speed. He has many accolades to his credit, such as the Wisden Cricketer of the Year. He also topped the ICC Test rankings for 263 weeks.
One of the best all-rounders the world has ever seen, South African cricketer Jacques Kallis was known for his signature cover drive throughout his career. He remains the only cricketer to score over 10,000 runs and take more than 250 wickets in both ODI and Test cricket.
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.
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.
The only Formula One World Champion from Africa, Jody David Scheckter made his debut at the US Grand Prix in 1972, shortly after moving from South Africa to Britain. Two years later he registered his first win with the Swedish Grand Prix. His last win was at the 1979 Italian Grand Prix. In 1980, he retired from motor racing.
South African boxer, kickboxer, and mixed martial artist Francois Botha has been one of the greatest heavyweight fighters of his country. Nicknamed The White Buffalo, he has fought against the best fighters, such as Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, and registered legendary wins against Axel Schulz and Timo Hoffmann.
South African boxer Corrie Sanders, nicknamed The Sniper, was a heavyweight champion and was motivated to take up boxing by his uncle. He made headlines when he was shot in the stomach and killed in an armed robbery at a restaurant in Brits, while celebrating his nephew's 21st birthday.
Midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala is a promising South African footballer and was the first to make his international debut while playing for the National First Division. He had played for Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs before joining AmaZulu. The son of a taxi driver, he initially aspired to become a chartered accountant.
30 JP Duminy
JP Duminy is a South African former cricket player who served as the vice-captain of the national Twenty20 team. In 2008, he played a major role in helping his national team win their first Test series in Australia against Australia. After retiring from all formats of the game in 2019, JP Duminy started working as a cricket commentator.
31 Morné Morkel
South African-Australian cricketer Morné Morkel is one of the best fast bowlers of his time. He is the younger brother of cricketer Albie Morkel, and in 2008, he and Albie became the first brother duo to be named the South African Cricket Annual Cricketers of the Year in 56 years.
Louis Oosthuizen is a South African golfer best known as the winner of the 2010 Open Championship which was held in Scotland. In addition to winning the 2010 Open Championship, Oosthuizen has also finished runner-up in the other three major championships. In 2013, he became the fourth-ranked golfer in the world according to the Official World Golf Ranking.
Born into a family of renowned cricketers, Shaun Pollock was the son of Peter Pollock and the nephew of Graeme Pollock. One of the best medium pace bowlers of South Africa, he was pushed into captaincy when Hansie Cronje got entangled in a match-fixing scandal in 2000.
Former Manchester United midfielder Quinton Fortune was one of the rare South Africans to be part of the Premier League. He had started his football career with the Tottenham Hotspur at 14 and later also played for Atletico Madrid. He has also been associated with anti-domestic-violence campaigns.
Makhaya Ntini became the first Xhosa player to be part of the South African national cricket team. Initially a cowherd in a tiny village in Cape Province, he bowled bare-foot and was scouted by a Boland Cricket Board officer. Though convicted of rape in 1999, he was acquitted later.
Popularly known as Zulu, South African former cricketer Lance Klusener was an all-rounder. He was named the Player of the Series in the 1999 World Cup. Taking up the role of coach later, he worked with the South African and Afghanistan national cricket teams, and was the Dolphins head coach.
37 Jonty Rhodes
A person who redefined fielding in cricket, by bringing it to the forefront, South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes first gained attention when he flung himself to run-out Pakistani cricketer Inzamam-Ul-Haq in a 1992 World Cup game. He worked with Standard Bank and then coached the national team post-retirement.
38 Graeme Smith
South African former cricketer Graeme Smith was once nicknamed Biff for often smashing the leather off the cricket balls. At 22, he was the youngest captain of his national cricket team. He was also known for his legendary opening partnerships with Herschelle Gibbs. Post-retirement, he works as a commentator.
Steven Pienaar is a South African former football player who served as the captain of the South African national team. He represented his national team in a couple of World Cups, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup which was hosted by South Africa. He is currently serving as an assistant coach for the Ajax Youth Academy's U-18 team.
40 Lucas Radebe
A former star footballer of the South African national team, Lucas Radebe had begun his career with the Kaizer Chiefs. He later also led the English club Leeds United. Nicknamed the Chief and Rhoo, he has also been associated with charitable initiatives against racism and for the development of children.
Vernon Philander is a former South African cricket player best known for his skills as a bowler. He has also played important knocks as a batsman, helping his team get out of difficult situations on several occasions. During his Test career, he played 64 tests and took 224 wickets.
42 Zola Budd
Zola Budd is a South African former athlete who used to compete in long-distance and middle-distance running. Budd represented Great Britain at the 1984 Olympic Games before representing South Africa at the 1992 Olympic Games. Zola Budd also took part in the 1985 and 1986 World Cross Country Championships, winning gold medals on both occasions.
43 Bobby Locke
South African golfer Bobby Locke had many wins in his kitty, including 15 PGA Tour events and four Open Championships. After winning his first tournament at 14, he served in the air force during World War II. He also penned the book Bobby Locke on Golf.
Victor Matfield is a South African former rugby union player who captained the national team as well as the Blue Bulls. Widely regarded as one of the greatest locks in the history of South African rugby, Matfield was extremely successful at disrupting opposition line-outs, a skill that helped his team win the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Kepler Wessels is a South African-Australian former cricket player who has represented South Africa as well as Australia in international cricket. He has also captained the South African national team. Wessels has also played an influential role as a coach, working with popular teams like Chennai Super Kings of the Indian Premier League.
46 Temba Bavuma
Temba Bavuma is the current captain of the South African ODI and T20 national teams and a talented right-handed batsman. Initially mentored by Geoffrey Toyana, he was signed up by the Lions. He is the second from his country to score an ODI debut century.
Charl Schwartzel is a South African golfer who won the 2011 Masters Tournament after birdying the final four holes to win his maiden major championship. The following year, he became the sixth-ranked golfer, his highest world ranking so far. Charl Schwartzel has had several professional wins, including 11 European Tour wins, nine Sunshine Tour wins, and two PGA Tour wins.
48 Albie Morkel
A talented South African all-rounder, Albie Morkel was often likened to Lance Klusener. Born to a cricketer father, it came as no surprise when he chose the game as a career option. However, he never had much of international success and now coaches the Namibian national cricket team.
Herschelle Gibbs is a South African former cricketer who became the first player to hit six consecutive sixes in one over in One Day International cricket. Apart from his batting exploits, Gibbs was also known for his superlative fielding. After retiring from the game, he is into the coaching now.
Apart from the South African team, rugby player Damian de Allende also plays for the United Rugby team Munster. Part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning team, he made more runs than any other Springbok player in the tournament. He was also signed by the Panasonic Wild Knights.