In no particular order, meet the celebrities who constantly leave us spell bound.
1.Koffi Olomide, Congolese, Musician
Olomide possesses a first degree in Business Economics and reportedly has a Master’s Degree in mathematics from the University of Paris, but he found mainstream fame and considerable fortune playing music. Olomide is one of the more famous performers of soukous an extremely popular genre of African music which intermixes vigorous gyrations with finger-style guitar of Rhumba and African melodies.
2.Youssou N’dour, Senegalese, Musician
In 2004, the Rolling Stone Magazine referred to the Senegal’s most coveted musician as “perhaps the most famous singer alive”. That’s highly unlikely, particularly in a contemporary music scenery dominated by the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Justin Bieber. But N’dour, 59, is arguably Africa’s most electrifying and mesmerizing entertainer.
3.Didier Drogba, Ivorian, Soccer Player
A striker for England’s Chelsea football club and captain of the Cote D’Ivoire national team, Drogba’s dexterous strength and fitness on the pitch has consistently earned him administration of adoring fans across the globe. But it is his transcendent compassion that has endeared him to both soccer aficionados and the unintended. After his country had qualified for the World Cup in Germany, Drogba, surrounded by his team mates, famously fell to his knees on live television and urged the warring factions to give up their arms. It worked.
4.Angelique Kidjo, Beninioise, Musician
At 51, the Beniniose Grammy-award winning musician is still one of Africa’s greatest divas. Over the course of her career she has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Josh Groban and Carlos Santana amongst others on tours and album recordings. The UNICEF Goodwill ambassador is also the founder of the Batonga Foundation, a Washington-based charity which promotes and funds education for African girls. Passionate advocate for African women’s rights.
5.Akon, Senegalese, Musician
The Senegalese-American hip-hop act stepped into the limelight in 2004 with the release of “Looked Up”, his first single from his debut album Trouble. Success has been meteoric ever since. He has gone on to produce 3 successful studio albums which have sold millions across the world. He co-owns Kon Live, an Interscope-backed record label which helped jumpstart the career of Lady Gaga and T-Pain.
6.Wole Soyinka, Nigerian, Playwright
In 1986 the Nigerian Palywright and author became the first African to win the Nobel Prize in literature. Easily the most famous playwright ever to emerge from Africa, the erudite wordsmith has published over 20 plays including The Lion and the Jewel, A dance of the Forests and the Strong Breed.
7.Salif Keita, Malian, Musician
A direct descendant of Sundiata Keita, the founder of the Malii Empire, Salif is one of the pioneers of Afro-pop. As a member of a Malian Noble family, Keita was famously rebuked when he set out to become a musician as it was considered an occupation beneath his status. At 18, he was banished from his village because of a superstitious belief that albinos brought ill fortune. He went to play for Les Ambassadeurs, a Malian music group before striking out on his own.
8.Yvonne Chaka Chaka, South African, Musician
The ‘Princess of Africa’ is one of Africa’s most illustrious musicians. Debuted on the stage at the age of 18; rose to fame at the height of South Africa’s Apartheid regime with infectious pop melodies, sonorous voice and girlish charm. She gained local and international acclaim with popular songs like ”I’m in Love with a DJ” and “I cry for freedom.” She now devotes her time to philanthropy as a United Nations Goodwill ambassador and UN envoy for Africa.
9.Samuel Eto’o, Cameroonian, Soccer Player
In August, the Cameroonian striker left Inter Milan to pitch tent with Russian club, Anzhi Makhachkala in a deal that has earned him the title of not just the highest earning footballer in the world, but the highest-paid athlete in professional sports. Estimated salary: $29 million per season.
10.Genevieve Nnaji, Nigerian, Actress
Nnaji has frequently been hailed as Africa’s own answer to the likes of Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and the rest of the feminine Hollywood stars. She started out in her acting career over 24 years ago, at the age of 8, playing a supporting role in a Nigerian TV series. Today, she is arguably Africa’s most revered actress and the poster girl for Nollywood-Nigeria’s burgeoning movie industry.