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Best African Figures

The history of Africa is colored and shaped by some very important people. This article is going to present some notable facts about these figures under 4 major categories namely, the political arena, entertainment, culture, and literature.

Under the political landscape, notable personalities include Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, Kofi Annan amongst others. Nelson Mandela, for example, was the first black president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He is known for his immense efforts in fighting against the Apartheid government which focused on racial segregation supported by law. In 1950, he was elected leader of the African National Congress liberation movement. When the ruling government prohibited the African National Congress (ANC), he had to support an armed movement to fight back. Unfortunately, he was sentenced to life in prison in 1962 for treason and conspiracy. He was released early however when the ANC was made legal again. One of the most notable things he did was his decision to forgive the apartheid regime and stated that “The time for healing wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come” (Nelson Mandela, 1994). He won a Nobel Peace prize for peacefully destroying the Apartheid regime laying the foundation for democracy.

In the field of entertainment, there are a host of names that feature in this arena. However, we would look briefly into the life of Lucky Dube. He was a South African musician whose music penetrated through the hearts of many Africans. His name, Lucky, was because he was the child who survived after several failed pregnancies. Born to a single mother, Lucky had to work while studying. While in school, he formed a band with some of his friends called the Skyway. He later joined his cousin’s band named ‘The Love Brothers’. This band got their breakthrough when they were signed on by the Teal Record Company. Lucky noticed however that the genre of music that was done by ‘The Love Brothers’ was not really appealing to the fans. He realized that there was more enthusiasm when he sang reggae music. He was hugely inspired by Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, all international reggae artists. He had a huge success producing many reggae albums such as ‘Prisoner’ and ‘House of Exile’.

On the African Literature front, there is one major personality best known for his novels and poems; Chinua Achebe. His writings ranged from the subject of the interactions of the African village with the white man to the educated African’s attempt to create a firm moral order. (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). Achebe grew up in Nigeria as an Igbo and studied English and Literature at the University of Ibadan. He further went on lecturing as an English professor in some of the universities in the United States. Some of his notable works include ‘Things Fall Apart’ (1958) ( which is widely used in some high schools in western Africa to this day), ‘No longer at Ease’, ‘Anthills of the Savannah’ and ‘How the Leopard got his Claws’. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize in the United Kingdom for having the Best Book in English or in English Translation.

As earlier mentioned, Africa has an unending list of interesting personalities of history and the brief exposition of these gives an idea of what we have accomplished.

References (n.d.). 11 Facts about Nelson Mandela. Retrieved July 5, 2021, from

FamousPeople. (n.d.). Who was Lucky Dube? Everything You Need to Know. The Famous People. Retrieved July 5, 2021, from

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (n.d.). Chinua Achebe | Biography, Books, & Facts. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved July 5, 2021, from