Find out more about the greatest South Africans, including Elon Musk, Charlize Theron, Nelson Mandela, Oscar Pistorius and Candice Swanepoel.

Resilient, gritty, and hardworking are some of the words that describe the people of South Africa. For a country that has been plagued by political turmoil and unrest for the major part of the 20th century, her inhabitants have always managed to bounce back with even higher determination than before. Centuries ago the country’s vast reserves of gold and diamond attracted the Europeans to settle here thereby influencing not just the cultural heritage, but also the social make up.

Elon MuskElon Musk
(Entrepreneur, Engineer, Inventor)

28 June 1971

Charlize TheronCharlize Theron

07 August 1975

Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela
(Anti-Apartheid Activist, President of ANC and Former President of South Africa)

18 July 1918

Winnie Madikizela-MandelaWinnie Madikizela-Mandela
(Politician, Anti-Apartheid Activist)

26 September 1936

AB de VilliersAB de Villiers

17 February 1984

Trevor NoahTrevor Noah
(Actor, Comedian,TV host)

20 February 1984

Oscar PistoriusOscar Pistorius

22 November 1986

Dave MatthewsDave Matthews
(Lead vocalist and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band.)

09 January 1967

Kimbal MuskKimbal Musk
(Venture Capitalist, Restaurateurs)

20 September 1972

Cyril RamaphosaCyril Ramaphosa
(President of South Africa)

17 November 1952

Gary PlayerGary Player
(South African golfer)

01 November 1935

Candice SwanepoelCandice Swanepoel

20 October 1988

Desmond TutuDesmond Tutu
(Anti-Apartheid Activist)

07 October 1931

Jacob ZumaJacob Zuma
(Fourth President of South Africa)

12 April 1942

(Zulu Emperor)

1787 AD

Sarah BaartmanSarah Baartman
(A Freak Show Attraction)

1787 AD

Hyun Bin Hyun Bin

25 September 1982

steve bikoSteve Biko
(Anti-apartheid Activist)

18 December 1946

Miriam MakebaMiriam Makeba

04 March 1932

Ernie ElsErnie Els
(Professional Golfer)

17 October 1969

Reeva SteenkampReeva Steenkamp

19 August 1983

Cariba HeineCariba Heine

01 October 1988

Alice KrigeAlice Krige

28 June 1954

J. M. CoetzeeJ. M. Coetzee
(Novelist, Author)

09 February 1940

Caspar LeeCaspar Lee
(YouTuber, Vlogger)

24 April 1994

Christiaan BarnardChristiaan Barnard
(Cardiac Surgeon)

08 November 1922

Alex LangeAlex Lange
(Instagram Model)

03 March 2001

Nadine GordimerNadine Gordimer
(Writer, Political Activist)

20 November 1923

(Singer, Actress)

01 December 1984

Bryce CourtenayBryce Courtenay

14 August 1933

Abdullah IbrahimAbdullah Ibrahim
(Pianist, Composer)

09 October 1934

Allan McLeod Cormack Allan McLeod Cormack

23 February 1924

Albert John LuthuliAlbert John Luthuli
(President of African National Congress (ANC))

04 June 1898

Max TheilerMax Theiler

30 January 1899

Candice PoolCandice Pool
(Jewelry Designer, Entrepreneur)

19 October 1977

Nikki WilliamsNikki Williams
(Singer and Songwriter)

09 November 1988

Joshua PietersJoshua Pieters
(Social Media Star)

17 September 1993

Princess CharlenePrincess Charlene of Monaco
(Princess consort of Monaco)

25 January 1978

Caster SemenyaCaster Semenya
(Middle-distance runner)

07 January 1991

John KaniJohn Kani
(author, stage actor, film actor, writer)

30 August 1943

Sharlto CopleySharlto Copley
(Actor, Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter)

27 November 1973

Charlene, Princess of MonacoCharlene, Princess of Monaco
(Swimmer, Model)

25 January 1978

Watkin Tudor JonesWatkin Tudor Jones
(Singer, Actor)

26 September 1974

Evelyn MaseEvelyn Mase

18 May 1922

Julius MalemaJulius Malema

03 March 1981

Kevin PietersenKevin Pietersen

27 June 1980

Faf du PlessisFaf du Plessis

13 July 1984

Arnold VoslooArnold Vosloo
(Film actor, Stage actor, Television actor)

16 June 1962

Jan SmutsJan Smuts
(Botanist, Officer, Lawyer)

24 May 1870

Thabo MbekiThabo Mbeki
(Politician, Economist)

18 June 1942

Kevin CarterKevin Carter

13 September 1960

Neill BlomkampNeill Blomkamp
(Film director, Screenwriter)

17 September 1979

Hashim AmlaHashim Amla

31 March 1983

Imran TahirImran Tahir

27 March 1979

Lucky DubeLucky Dube
(Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist)

03 August 1964

Jacques KallisJacques Kallis

16 October 1975

Morné MorkelMorné Morkel

06 October 1984

Dale SteynDale Steyn

27 June 1983

Justin GabrielJustin Gabriel
(Professional wrestler)

03 March 1981

Tanit PhoenixTanit Phoenix
(Actor, Television actor, Model)

24 September 1984

Hansie CronjeHansie Cronje

25 September 1969

Ivan GazidisIvan Gazidis
(Lawyer, Businessperson)

13 September 1964

Patrice MotsepePatrice Motsepe
(Entrepreneur, Businessperson)

28 January 1962

P. W. BothaP. W. Botha

12 January 1916

Jonty RhodesJonty Rhodes

27 July 1969

Chris HaniChris Hani

28 June 1942

Louis OosthuizenLouis Oosthuizen

19 October 1982

Hendrik VerwoerdHendrik Verwoerd
(Politician, University teacher, Faculty)

08 September 1901

Shaun MorganShaun Morgan
(Singer, Guitarist)

21 December 1978

Paul KrugerPaul Kruger

10 October 1825

Cyril CusackCyril Cusack

26 November 1910

Mark ShuttleworthMark Shuttleworth
(Entrepreneur, Astronaut, Engineer, Inventor, Scientist, Blogger, Businessperson, Computer scientist)

18 September 1973

Steven PienaarSteven Pienaar
(Association football player)

17 March 1982

Tammin SursokTammin Sursok
(Actor, Singer, Film actor)

19 August 1983

Siphiwe TshabalalaSiphiwe Tshabalala
(Association football player)

25 September 1984

Today South Africa boasts off a multiethnic population and a staggering 11 official languages! Compared to several other countries, South Africa is a young country, having become a Republic only in 1961. However, in spite of all the difficulties, South Africans have contributed immensely to the development of the world in the fields of literature, philosophy, science and fine arts. Cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant while the nation’s first black president Nelson Mandela gave hopes of a better future to not just the citizens of his country, but to the whole world. The nation has also given the world modern literary geniuses in the form of Nadine Gordimer and John Maxwell Coetzee. Read on to discover more about famous South Africans.