South African

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.

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

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 1 Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron
63
Famous As: First South African To Win An Oscar In Acting
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 Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
35
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: President of South Africa (1994-1999)
Birthdate: July 18, 1918
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mvezo, South Africa
Died: December 5, 2013
Revered as the Father of the Nation by the South Africans, Nelson Mandela was a statesman who rose to become the country’s first black head of state. He reconciled a nation divided along racial lines and dismantled the legacy of apartheid.

 3 Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah
26
Famous As: Comedian & Host Of The Daily Show
Birthdate: February 20, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

Trevor Noah is a writer, political commentator, comedian and television host and hosts the American satirical news programme, The Daily Show. He has also hosted several other shows, including the late-night talk show, Tonight with Trevor Noah. He is an actor too. He has written an autobiographical book, Born A Crime, and has received numerous accolades and awards, including the Emmy Award.

 4 AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers
33
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: February 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bela-Bela, South Africa

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.

 5 Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu
35
Listed In: Activists
Famous As: Anti-Apartheid Activist, Theologian
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klerksdorp, South Africa
Died: December 26, 2021
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.

 6 Candice Swanepoel

Candice Swanepoel
9
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: October 20, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mooi River, South Africa

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.

 7 Belle Delphine

Belle Delphine
75
Listed In: Fashion
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.
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 8 Yolandi

Yolandi
22
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.

 9 Embeth Davidtz

Embeth Davidtz
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 11, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lafayette, Indiana, United States

Embeth Davidtz is a South-African American actress known for playing important roles in popular movies, such as Schindler's List and Fracture. She also serves as an inspiration to those fighting against cancer as she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, for which she had to undergo a mastectomy.

 10 Shaka

Shaka
2
Famous As: Zulu Emperor
Birthdate: 1787 AD
Birthplace: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Died: September 22, 1828

Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom, Shaka reigned as the king of the Zulu Kingdom from 1816 to 1828. Through a series of influential and wide-reaching reforms, Shaka was able to re-organize the Zulu military into a formidable force. His life and work inspired the 1986 South African TV series, Shaka Zulu.

 11 Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma
17
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: President of South Africa (2009-18)
Birthdate: April 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nkandla, South Africaa

Jacob Zuma is a South African politician and fourth president of South Africa. During his presidency, which lasted from 2009 to 2018, Zuma was accused of racketeering and corruption which ultimately led to his resignation. Apart from being a politician, Zuma also runs the Jacob Zuma Foundation, which aims at building houses for the poor and sending children to school.

 12 Steve Biko

Steve Biko
3
Listed In: Activists
Famous As: Anti-apartheid Activist
Birthdate: December 18, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tarkastad, South Africa
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.

 13 Gary Player

Gary Player
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: South African golfer
Birthdate: November 1, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
South African former golfer Gary Player became the only non-American to win the career Grand Slam, at 29. Named to the World Golf Hall of Fame, he has earned more than 160 professional tournaments. He has also written golf books, designed golf courses, and launched The Player Foundation.

 14 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters
9
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Miss Universe 2017
Birthdate: June 28, 1995
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sedgefield, South Africa
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.

 15 Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews
8
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Musician, Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
South African-born American singer Dave Matthews gained fame as the lead singer and guitarist of the rock band Dave Matthews Band. Known for hits such as So Much to Say, Some Devil, and Gravedigger, he has won two Grammys, one with the band and the other as a solo artist. 

 16 Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa
10
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: President of South Africa
Birthdate: November 17, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Soweto

Cyril Ramaphosa is a politician and the current president of South Africa. Also the president of South Africa's popular political party African National Congress (ANC), Ramaphosa played a key role during the nation's transition to democracy during which he served as ANC's chief negotiator. He also played a crucial role in ending apartheid and was considered Nelson Mandela's political heir.

 17 Kimbal Musk

Kimbal Musk
20
Listed In: Business People
Famous As: Venture Capitalist, Restaurateurs
Birthdate: September 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa
Kimbal Musk, the younger brother of business tycoon and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, owns the community restaurant chain known as The Kitchen Restaurant Group. He also co-founded the non-profit Big Green, which builds outdoor classrooms, and Square Roots, which specializes in urban farming. He is also a prime Tesla shareholder.

 18 Sarah Baartman

Sarah Baartman
6
Listed In: Miscellaneous
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.
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 19 Sharlto Copley

Sharlto Copley
5
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 27, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pretoria

Sharlto Copley is a South African actor best known for playing important roles in science fiction films, such as District 9, Elysium, Europa Report, Chappie, and Hardcore Henry. His portrayal of Wikus van der Merwe in District 9 earned him several accolades including a couple of IGN Movie Awards.

 20 Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
12
Listed In: Leaders
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.

 21 Kevin Carter

Kevin Carter
11
Listed In: Photographers
Famous As: Photographer
Birthdate: September 13, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Johannesburg
Died: July 27, 1994

Kevin Carter was a South African photojournalist whose photograph titled the vulture and the little girl, which depicted the 1993 famine in Sudan, earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1994. Carter committed suicide in 1994 after suffering from depression. A book titled The Bang Bang Club, which was later made into a film, depicts his story.

 22 Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya
10
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Olympic Athlete
Birthdate: January 7, 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Polokwane, Limpopo, South African

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.

 23 Tosca Musk

Tosca Musk
14
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: July 20, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: South Africa

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.

 24 Prue Leith

Prue Leith
7
Listed In: Business People
Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: February 18, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: South Africa

British-South African chef and culinary expert Prue Leith had begun her career with a lunch-supplying business. She later launched her Michelin-starred restaurant Leith's in Notting Hill and a culinary school. Best known as a judge on The Great British Menu, she is also associated with various charitable initiatives.

 25 Arnold Vosloo

Arnold Vosloo
4
Famous As: Played Imohtep in the cult classic films The Mummy and The Mummy Returns
Birthdate: June 16, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa

Born to stage-actor parents in South Africa, Arnold Vosloo is best known as Imhotep from The Mummy franchise. He is also often mistaken for Billy Zane from Titanic for his uncanny resemblance to the actor. The Dalro Award-winning actor has also appeared in series such as 24 and Bosch.

 26 Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene of Monaco
12
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Princess consort of Monaco (Since 2011)
Birthdate: January 25, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
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.

 27 Reeva Steenkamp

Reeva Steenkamp
17
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: August 19, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa
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.

 28 Lara Logan

Lara Logan
5
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 29, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

Lara Logan is a South African radio and television journalist. She has also worked as a war correspondent; in 2001, she interviewed General Babajan after successfully infiltrating the American-British-backed Northern Alliance at the Bagram Air Base. Over the years Lara Logan has worked for popular news channels like CBS News and Fox Nation. 

 29 Ernie Els

Ernie Els
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Professional Golfer
Birthdate: October 17, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

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.

 30 Neill Blomkamp

Neill Blomkamp
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Director of the science fiction film Elysium starring Matt Damon
Birthdate: September 17, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

Born in South Africa, Neill Blomkamp later moved to Canada. He began his career as a 3-D and special effects artist and later turned to direction. He is known for his documentary-style filmmaking that uses the cinéma vérité technique. Two of his best-known sci-fi films are District 9 and Elysium.

 31 Christiaan Barnard

Christiaan Barnard
3
Listed In: Physicians
Famous As: Cardiac Surgeon
Birthdate: November 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Beaufort West, South Africa
Died: September 2, 2001
Born to a preacher father of modest means, Christiaan Barnard completed his medical school on scholarships. In December 1967, he revolutionized medical science by performing the first human heart transplant by transplanting 25-year-old accident victim Denise Darvall’s heart into 53-year-old chronic heart patient grocer Louis Washkansky.

 32 Alice Krige

Alice Krige
2
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.

 33 Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba
4
Listed In: Activists
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.

 34 John Kani

John Kani
6
Famous As: Actor, Playwright, Director
Birthdate: August 30, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Brighton, Eastern Cape

John Kani is a South African actor, playwright, director, and author. He is best known for playing T'Chaka in American superhero films, such as Black Panther and Captain America: Civil War. One of the few South African actors to achieve international recognition, John Kani was included in the Top 100 Great South Africans list, which was published in 2004. 

 35 Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 13, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: July 21, 1967

Basil Rathbone was an English actor best remembered for playing private detective Sherlock Holmes in 14 movies made between 1939 and 1946. Renowned for playing morally ambiguous characters, Rathbone won the prestigious Tony Award for his portrayal of Dr. Austin Sloper in The Heiress. Basil Rathbone has been honored with three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 36 Hashim Amla

Hashim Amla
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: March 31, 1983
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

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.

 37 Sid James

Sid James
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 8, 1913
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa
Died: April 26, 1976

Sid James was an actor best remembered for playing multiple characters in the popular Carry On series. James has been the subject of many tribute shows including BBC's 2013 show The Many Faces of Sid James. In 1998, actor Geoffrey Hutchings played Sid James in a play titled Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick which was premiered at the National Theatre.

 38 Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: June 27, 1980
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

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.

 39 Lucky Dube

Lucky Dube
22
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 3, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ermelo, South Africa
Died: October 18, 2007
Named Lucky by his mother, following his birth after many unsuccessful pregnancies, Lucky Dube grew up to become one of the most influential South African reggae stars ever. His desert reggae made him hugely popular among the Australian aboriginal community, too. The Rastafarian supporter was later killed by carjackers.

 40 Faf du Plessis

Faf du Plessis
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: July 13, 1984
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pretoria

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.

 41 Hansie Cronje

Hansie Cronje
7
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: September 25, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa
Died: June 1, 2002

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.

 42 Tanit Phoenix

Tanit Phoenix
3
Famous As: Model who appeared as Lilith in Femme Fatales.
Birthdate: September 24, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Durban, South Africa

South African supermodel, actor, and make-up artist Tanit Phoenix had begun her career at 14. A sensation in the fashion world, she has graced magazines such as GQ and Maxim, and has also been featured on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions. She loves ballet, yoga, and martial arts.

 43 Wayde van Niekerk

Wayde van Niekerk
8
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: July 15, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

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.

 44 Juliet Prowse

Juliet Prowse
5
Famous As: Dancer, Actress
Birthdate: September 25, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
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

 45 Jan Smuts

Jan Smuts
1
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: 2nd Prime Minister of South Africa
Birthdate: May 24, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Riebeeck West, South Africa
Died: September 11, 1950

Jan Smuts was a South African military leader, statesman, and philosopher. He played a key role in the formation of the Union of South Africa and helped shape its constitution. From 1919 to 1924 and again from 1939 to 1948, he served as the Union of South Africa's prime minister. He played a major role in establishing the United Nations.

 46 Graça Machel

Graça Machel
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: First Lady of Mozambique (1975-86), First Lady of South Africa (1998-99)
Birthdate: October 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gaza Province, Mozambique

Graça Machel is known for her association with Mozambique’s FRELIMO movement and has been the country’s first education minister. She has also been married to both former Mozambican president Samora Machel and South African president Nelson Mandela. Through The Elders, she is devoted to working for women’s and children’s rights.

 47 Jacques Kallis

Jacques Kallis
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: October 16, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

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.

 48 Oti Mabuse

Oti Mabuse
1
Listed In: Dancers
Famous As: Dancer on the British television series, Strictly Come Dancing, and its German equivalent, Let's Dance
Birthdate: August 8, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa

 49 Cariba Heine

Cariba Heine
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

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.

 50 Justin Gabriel

Justin Gabriel
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Professional wrestler
Birthdate: March 3, 1981
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cape Town

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.

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.