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An update from Evaneos
South Africa

The best known celebrities in South Africa

Many South African celebrities have benefitted from the country's recent history, the abolition of apartheid and the struggle for liberation opening doors in their lives and careers. A number of them have seen their fame go further afield, crossing the continent to become global stars. Several political figures, singers and sportspeople are known world wide. Mandela, the most famous of them all, changed the world.

Most come from the world of politics

Freedom fighter, national hero, Nobel winner and first South African President to rule in the post-apartheid era...Nelson Mandela is without doubt the best known and most revered of South Africa's children. Fondly known as Madiba, he has, since his death, secured his place in history as a man who fought for humanity; a legend unto himself. He dedicated his life to his country and paid the price for defending his idealogy by spending 27 years in prison. Any trip to South Africa will include time tracing the steps of this incredible man. From Mvezo, his birthplace, to his home in Soweto, followed by his imprisonment on Robben Island , everyone knows Nelson Mandela's story.

Mandela on a building in Johannesburg

It's hard to find others who had such an impact. But even if they don't have the same global reputation, numerous other political figures are widely recognised in the country.

Firstly there's Winnie Mandela, Nelson's ex-wife, who stood by her husband through thick and thin. She also dedicated her life to the anti-apartheid cause. Today she's a somewhat controversial figure, having been accused of involvement in various scandals. But even so, she holds a special place in people's hearts.

Political life in the country still revolves around Nelson Mandela's legacy. There are, however, several men who are well worthy of a mention. Frederick De Klerk, a former adversary of Mandela, was the President who decided he should be freed after spending 27 years in prison. He then opened the way for the abolition of apartheid. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his ground breaking work. There are others who joined Mandela on the road to freedom: Desmond Tutu, Steve Biko and the most recent Presidents, Thabo Mbeki, Oliver Tambo and Jacob Zuma.

Famous singers and sportspeople

Whilst the South African press may focus on politics, certain singers and sportspeople have received global coverage.

Firstly there's Johnny Clegg, the 'White Zulu', whose hits, including Asimbonanga and Scatterlings of Africa, are aired on stations the world over.

More recently, Oscar Pitorius, the disabled Olympian, hit the headlines with the sorry tale of his having shot and killed his famous, model girlfriend.

David Debrincat
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