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

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

18 July 1918

Charlize TheronCharlize Theron

07 August 1975

Trevor NoahTrevor Noah
(Actor, Comedian,TV host)

20 February 1984

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

09 January 1967

Oscar PistoriusOscar Pistorius

22 November 1986

Desmond TutuDesmond Tutu
(Anti-Apartheid Activist)

07 October 1931

Kimbal MuskKimbal Musk
(Venture Capitalist, Restaurateurs)

20 September 1972

Cyril RamaphosaCyril Ramaphosa
(President of South Africa)

17 November 1952

AB de VilliersAB de Villiers

17 February 1984

Candice SwanepoelCandice Swanepoel

20 October 1988

(Zulu Emperor)

1787 AD

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

26 September 1936

Jacob ZumaJacob Zuma
(Fourth President of South Africa)

12 April 1942

Tosca MuskTosca Musk
(Filmmaker, Entrepreneur)

20 July 1974

steve bikoSteve Biko
(Anti-apartheid Activist)

18 December 1946

Hyun Bin Hyun Bin

25 September 1982

Sarah BaartmanSarah Baartman
(A Freak Show Attraction)

1787 AD

John KaniJohn Kani
(Actor, Playwright, Director)

30 August 1942

Gary PlayerGary Player
(South African golfer)

01 November 1935

Cariba HeineCariba Heine

01 October 1988

Reeva SteenkampReeva Steenkamp

19 August 1983

Miriam MakebaMiriam Makeba

04 March 1932

Ernie ElsErnie Els
(Professional Golfer)

17 October 1969

Alice KrigeAlice Krige

28 June 1954

Caspar LeeCaspar Lee
(YouTuber, Vlogger)

24 April 1994

Christiaan BarnardChristiaan Barnard
(Cardiac Surgeon)

08 November 1922

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

09 February 1940

Errol MuskErrol Musk
(Elon Musk's Father)

1946 AD

(Singer, Actress)

01 December 1984

Nadine GordimerNadine Gordimer
(Writer, Political Activist)

20 November 1923

Alex LangeAlex Lange
(Instagram Model)

03 March 2001

Bryce CourtenayBryce Courtenay

14 August 1933

Joshua PietersJoshua Pieters
(Social Media Star)

17 September 1993

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

04 June 1898

Abdullah IbrahimAbdullah Ibrahim
(Pianist, Composer)

09 October 1934

Allan McLeod Cormack Allan McLeod Cormack

23 February 1924

Max TheilerMax Theiler

30 January 1899

Candice PoolCandice Pool
(Jewelry Designer, Entrepreneur)

19 October 1977

Byron LangleyByron Langley

01 July 1993

Nikki WilliamsNikki Williams
(Singer and Songwriter)

09 November 1988

Princess CharlenePrincess Charlene of Monaco
(Princess consort of Monaco)

25 January 1978

Wilco FronemanWilco Froneman
(Rugby Player, Jonathan Van Ness’ Boyfriend)

1986 AD

Watkin Tudor JonesWatkin Tudor Jones
(Singer, Actor)

26 September 1974

Caster SemenyaCaster Semenya
(Middle-distance runner)

07 January 1991

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

27 November 1973

Solomon LindaSolomon Linda
(singer, songwriter, composer)

1909 AD

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

16 June 1962

Julius MalemaJulius Malema

03 March 1981

Thabo MbekiThabo Mbeki
(Politician, Economist)

18 June 1942

Kevin PietersenKevin Pietersen

27 June 1980

Neill BlomkampNeill Blomkamp
(Film director, Screenwriter)

17 September 1979

Kevin CarterKevin Carter

13 September 1960

Lucky DubeLucky Dube
(Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist)

03 August 1964

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

25 January 1978

Hashim AmlaHashim Amla

31 March 1983

Jan SmutsJan Smuts
(Botanist, Officer, Lawyer)

24 May 1870

Dale SteynDale Steyn

27 June 1983

Tanit PhoenixTanit Phoenix
(Actor, Television actor, Model)

24 September 1984

P. W. BothaP. W. Botha

12 January 1916

Jacques KallisJacques Kallis

16 October 1975

Patrice MotsepePatrice Motsepe
(Entrepreneur, Businessperson)

28 January 1962

Hansie CronjeHansie Cronje

25 September 1969

Oliver TamboOliver Tambo

27 October 1917

Evelyn MaseEvelyn Mase

18 May 1922

Justin GabrielJustin Gabriel
(Professional wrestler)

03 March 1981

Shaun MorganShaun Morgan
(Singer, Guitarist)

21 December 1978

Siphiwe TshabalalaSiphiwe Tshabalala
(Association football player)

25 September 1984

Hendrik VerwoerdHendrik Verwoerd
(Politician, University teacher, Faculty)

08 September 1901

Tammin SursokTammin Sursok
(Actor, Singer, Film actor)

19 August 1983

Elize du ToitElize du Toit
(Actor, film actor)

21 February 1980

Paul KrugerPaul Kruger

10 October 1825

Ivan GazidisIvan Gazidis
(Lawyer, Businessperson)

13 September 1964

Blondie ChaplinBlondie Chaplin
(Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Record producer)

07 July 1951

Cyril CusackCyril Cusack

26 November 1910

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.