It would take an entire book (or several books) to describe all the great and famous people of Africa. Below you will see a list of many of these personalities followed by a description of them. Some of the people listed are from the past and some are still alive. The list includes presidents, religious leaders, warriors, and kings. The information below, written for kids and adults, includes facts about who these people were, what their accomplishments were, and how they became famous.
1. Nelson Mandela
Of all the famous people of Africa perhaps Nelson Mandela is the most known. This great leader helped free his nation from apartheid. He was born in the South African town of Transkei in 1918. Outraged when the National Party which supported racism came to power in South Africa he became active in fighting for equal rights for all people in South Africa.
He founded the military wing of the African National Congress which was involved in sabotaging government installations. He was put in prison in 1990 and stayed there for twenty seven years. During his time in prison his popularity grew. He organized political education classes in jail and continued his fight against apartheid. After being released from jail he became the first democratically elected president of South Africa. He died in December of 2013.
2. Nnamdi Azikiwe
Nnamdi Azikiwe, PC, usually referred to as “Zik”, was a Nigerian statesman who was Governor General of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963 and the first President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. Considered a driving force behind the nation’s independence, he came to be known as the “father of Nigerian Nationalism”.
3. Desmond Tutu
Winner of the Noble Peace Prize in 1984 Bishop Desmond Tutu is a world renowned religious leader who has fought diligently against apartheid, xenophobic violence in South Africa and other violence against human beings both black and white.
He was born in South Africa in 1931 and has been honored with many awards. He has also served many high post, including General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, Dean of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg, and Bishop of Lesotho.
4. Shaka kaSenzangakhona
Shaka was a famous African Zulu king and warrior. He was born in 1786 and was the son of the Zulu chief Senzangakona. At the age of twenty six his father died and left Shaka’s brother as king. As a prime example of his ruthlessness, sometime around 1820, he killed his brother and became king.
He would become famous for his brutality. Shaka was a military genius training his warriors in special military tactics and in the use of modern weapons. Under his rule the Zulu people became a powerful nation numbering over one million. His troops were feared by enemies and his motto was “Death or victory”.