The Most Famous African: Ranking Prominent Figures in African History and Culture

Choose the African you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 28, 2024 06:59
Welcome to StrawPoll, where opinions matter and voices are heard! Today, we invite you to participate in our exciting new ranking: "Who is the most famous African?" Across the continent's rich history and diverse cultures, countless individuals have risen to prominence, shaping the world we know today. So, who do YOU think deserves the top spot? From iconic leaders like Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan to groundbreaking artists like Miriam Makeba and Chinua Achebe, this is your chance to vote for your favorite or even suggest a missing option. Don't miss out on this thrilling opportunity to celebrate Africa's finest and let your voice be heard. Cast your vote now and join the conversation that's taking the world by storm!

Who Is the Most Famous African?

  1. 1
    He was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.
    Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and inspiring figures of the 20th century.
    • Born: July 18, 1918
    • Died: December 5, 2013
    • Political Affiliation: African National Congress (ANC)
    • Imprisonment: Spent 27 years in prison (1962-1990)
    • Awards and Recognition: Nobel Peace Prize (1993), Bharat Ratna, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and more
    Nelson Mandela in other rankings
  2. 2
    Kofi Annan
    US Mission in Geneva · Public domain
    He was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. He was the first black African to hold the post.
    Kofi Annan in other rankings
  3. 3
    Chinua Achebe
    Stuart C. Shapiro · CC BY 3.0
    He was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely read book in modern African literature.
    Chinua Achebe in other rankings
  4. 4
    Desmond Tutu
    Benny Gool · Public domain
    He is a South African Anglican cleric and theologian known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and later served as the Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
    Desmond Tutu in other rankings
  5. 5
    Wole Soyinka
    Frankie Fouganthin · CC BY-SA 4.0
    He is a Nigerian playwright, poet, and essayist. He was the first African to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.
    Wole Soyinka in other rankings
  6. 6
    She was a South African singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist. She was known as Mama Africa and was one of the first African musicians to gain international recognition.
    Miriam Makeba in other rankings
  7. 7
    He was the last Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was a prominent figure in the Pan-African movement and played a key role in the establishment of the Organization of African Unity.
    Haile Selassie in other rankings
  8. 8
    Fela Kuti
    His master’s voice record company. · CC BY-SA 4.0
    He was a Nigerian musician and activist known as the father of Afrobeat. His music was inspired by African rhythms and he used his platform to speak out against corruption and oppression.
    Fela Kuti in other rankings
  9. 9
    She was a Kenyan environmental and political activist who was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She founded the Green Belt Movement, which has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya.
    Wangari Maathai in other rankings
  10. 10
    He is an Egyptian professional footballer who plays for Liverpool and the Egypt national team. He is widely considered one of the best footballers in the world and has won numerous awards and accolades.
    Mohamed Salah in other rankings

Missing your favorite African?


Ranking factors for famous African

  1. Achievements
    Their contributions to the fields of arts, science and technology, politics, sports, entertainment, business, and/or philanthropy.
  2. International recognition and impact
    Their influence not only in their home country but also on a global scale.
  3. Popularity and media coverage
    Their level of fame, popularity, and prominence in the media and cultural landscape.
  4. Historical significance
    Their role in shaping African history or their impact on society at large.
  5. Cultural representation
    Their representation of Africa's diverse cultures and traditions.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous African. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or African is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 182 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each African once every 24 hours. The rank of each African is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous african

Africa is a continent rich in culture, history, and diversity. It is home to more than 1.2 billion people and boasts of some of the world's most famous personalities. From Nobel laureates, renowned artists, and celebrated athletes, Africa has produced some of the most iconic figures in history. When it comes to identifying the most famous African, the task might seem daunting considering the vast array of personalities to choose from. However, some names stand out due to their global appeal and significant impact on the world stage. From former South African president Nelson Mandela, who fought against apartheid and advocated for racial equality, to the celebrated Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah, who has won numerous awards and accolades for his exceptional talent, Africa has produced some of the most remarkable figures in the world. The most famous African is a highly contested title, with various individuals making a strong case for themselves. Ultimately, it comes down to personal opinions, and with StrawPoll, you can cast your vote and see who the world considers to be the most famous African.

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