“To mark 50 years of Africa independence, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) African Service, was polled for a list of the continent’s 50 most iconic figures. After much heated debate, here are our choices…”

The above quote is the introduction to page 48 and 49 of the current issue of the BBC’s Focus on Africa magazine. The two pages contain all the pictures of the 50 persons voted for. The 50 include 13 former Heads of State; two serving Heads of State; 12 musicians and models; six writers; eight political leaders and activists; seven footballers and athletes.

Three Ghanaians were among the 50 – Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah; ex-President Jerry Rawlings and Dr. Kofi Annan. Absent from the list were Ghanaian political leaders like ex-President J.A Kufuor and sporting figures like Abedi Pele or Michael Essien (names of Roger Miller, George Weah and Didier Drogba featured in the list of 50).

Below is the list, courtesy of the BBCs Focus on Africa magazine

1. Iman Abdulmajid (1955) Somalian model
2. Chinua Achebe (1930) Nigerian novelist and poet and Nobel laureate
3. Kofi Annan (1938) Ghanaian former Secretary-General to the UN
4. Nnamdi Azikiwe (1904-1996) First President of Nigeria
5. Steve Biko (1946-1977) Ldr. Of the Black Conscientiousness movement in S.A
6. Amilcar Cabral(1924-1973) Nationalist Guerilla leader
7. Eusebuio da Silver Ferrerira (1943-): Mozambican footballer who played for Portugal
8. FW de Klerk (1936-): Former South African president and Noble laureate
9. Didier Drogba (1978-): Ivorian footballer
10. Cesaria Evora (1941-): Cape Verdean singer and Grammy award winner
11. Frankie Fredericks (1967-): Former Namibian athlete and Olympic champion
12. Muammar Gaddafi(1967) Libyan leader and proponent of African unit
13. John Garang (1945-2005): Sudanese rebel leader and politician
14. Haile Gebrselassie (1973-): Ethiopian: Olympic and World Champion medal holder
15. Djimon Hounsou (1964-): Beninese actor and model
16. Felix Houphouet-Boigny (1905-1993): First president of Ivory Coast
17. Mohamed Ibrahim(1946-): Sudanese telecommunications entrepreneur
18. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf(1938-): Liberian President and Africa’s first female head of state
19. Kenneth Kaunda(1924-): First President of Zambia
20. Salif Keita (1949-): Malian afro-pop singer songwriter
21. Angelique Kidjo (1960-): Beninese Grammy winning musician
22. Fela Kuti(1938-19970: Nigerian musician and a pioneer of afro beat music
23. Patrice Lumumba (1925-1961): First Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo
24. Baaba Maal(1953-): Senegalese singer and guitarist
25. Wangari Maathai(1940-): Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel laureate
26. Grace Machel (1945-): widow of Samora Machel & wife of Nelson Mandela
27. Samora Machel (1933-1986): First President of Mozambique
28. Miriam Makeba(1932-2008): South African singer and anti-apartheid activist
29. Nelson Mandela(1918-): Former South African President and Nobel laureate
30. Hugh Masekela(1939-): South African jazz musician and anti-apartheid activist

More to be added to this list…

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