Monday, October 17, 2011

Chinua Achebe Tops Forbes' List of Influential Africans

Highly influential American Forbes Magazine, well-known for its lists, has published a list 40 most powerful and influential celebrities in Africa. Nigerian Novelist, Chinua Achebe, tops the list that also has ten other Nigerians.

Early in September, influential American Magazine Forbes called for nominations for a list of the 40 most powerful celebrities in contemporary Africa. Over 7,500 nominations came in. After a thorough sifting, a list of 40 eventually emerged. The list, dominated by Nigerians, included actors, cerebral authors, musicians, movie producers, super models, television personalities and athletes from across Africa. Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe was ranked No. 1 while Senegalese musician, Youssou N'dour and Ivorian football star, Didier Drogba ranked second and third respectively.

The other Nigerians on the list are Nobel Laureate, Professsor Wole Soyinka; Afro-beat musician, Femi Kuti; music producer, Don Jazzy; actress Genevieve Nnaji and novelist Chimamanda Adichie. Others are Tuface Idibia, P-Square, D'Banj, Nneka and Asa, all musicians.

How Forbes Arrived at 40 Names...

How did Forbes Magazine narrow down the huge number of nominations to 40? It explains thus: "Determining the celebrities who exert the highest degree of influence in contemporary African pop culture involved sifting through the nominations for the individuals with the highest numbers of votes, and then measuring their media visibility - exposure in print, television, radio and online. It also included their number of web references on Google, television/radio mentions and their general clout across the continent."

Forbes said further that a robust social media presence would have been an invaluable yardstick for determining the intensity of influence these individuals exert over their enthusiasts. However, apart from Senegalese hip-hop act Akon, Nigerian beat maker Michael Collins (Don Jazzy) and a handful of others who boast 6-figure followers on networks like Facebook and Twitter, "an overwhelming number of Africa's most influential celebrities have either a very small or non-existent social media presence."

Africa's favourite idols who use their celebrity status to impact social change are also on the rise, so says Forbes. "Take Liya Kebede, for instance. The Ethiopian-born supermodel has leveraged on her celebrity status to raise awareness about maternal health issues. She currently serves as the World Health Organization's Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and child health. She also founded the Liya Kebede Foundation, which seeks to reduce maternal mortality rates in Ethiopia and around the world by funding advocacy, training and medical programs."

Forbes said further that Drogba had also built on the cult-like following he enjoys at home to call for peace in his war-torn country: "Cote D'Ivoire had been enduring a civil war since 2000. After he led the Ivorian national team to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Drogba famously made a plea to the combatants, requesting that they drop their weapons in pursuit of peace. They listened. A few days later, there was a cease-fire. Apart from playing a pivotal role in the peace process, Drogba also donated a $5 million endorsement fee he earned from Pepsi to construct a world-class hospital in his hometown of Abidjan."


Albert Achebe (born 16 November 1930) popularly known as Chinua Achebe is best known for his first novel Things Fall Apart which is the most widely read book in modern African literature. Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos.


Nobel Laureate Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka, is the first African to win a Nobel prize. He was born 13 July 1934 is a writer, poet and playwright. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature and became the first African in Africa and in Diaspora to be so honoured. In 1994, he was designated UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication.

Femi Kuti

He is the first son of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Femi has been able to leverage on his father's brilliance, fame and fortune to position himself as one of Africa's wealthiest entertainers. He owns the popular Afrikan Shrine. Like his father, he has many popular albums to his credits like Bang, Bang, Bang. He also rakes in a lot of income from international shows and concerts worldwide.


Genevieve is one of the leading Nollywood actresses. She has acted in over 100 home videos in the country and more than a dozen TV soaps. Suave and delectable, Genevieve has also featured in many commercial advertisements and has received many endorsements. Last year, she appeared in the popular Oprah Winfrey show.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on 15 September 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents, Grace Ifeoma and James Nwoye Adichie.

At the age of nineteen, Chimamanda left for the United States. She gained a scholarship to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years, and she went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. She is the author of the award winning Half a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus.

Tuface Idibia

There is hardly any doubt that he is one of the most successful entertainers to ever come out of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Born Innocent Ujah Idibia, Tuface has at various times won the MTV Base music award in far away UK, Best African Act at the MOBO Awards and at the KORA Music Awards.

He has received endorsements from Guinness and Airtel, among others.


They are a set of musical twins who took the Nigeria's entertainment scene by storm. With a sprawling mansion put in the region of N100m, Psquare, who have wined and dined with some of Africa's leaders-presidents and ministers alike-remain one of Nigeria's exports that have distinguished themselves in the world of entertainment.

Don Jazzy

Born Michael Enebeli, the prolific music producer, has been able to sell himself into the major market in the American music industry. After he formed the Mohits Inc. with his partner, D'Banj following their return from the United Kingdom, this chubby producer, who doubles as a musician, is a multi-talented entertainer. He became the toast of top American music acts like Jay Z, Kanye West and Kid Kudi after he produced a remix of one of D'Banj's hit song, 'Mr Endowed' with American superstar, Snoop Dogg. He is at present signed on to Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music.


Tagged the Kokomaster, D'Banj was born Dapo Oyebanjo. He remains one of Nigeria's most talked about and celebrated entertainers. He has done musical collaborations with many local and foreign acts and was recently signed on by Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music after a chance meeting with the rapper in Dubai. D'Banj latest album which is enjoying rave reviews on radio and television in the country is called Oliver Twist.


She is a Nigerian who made her name in music in Germany. Though Nneka's music is gaining ground in Nigeria as well, she remains one of the best exports from Nigeria who has done so well and brilliantly shown her musical talent.


Asa remains one of the few Nigerian musicians who has done well for herself in the world of music. Her business selling point is her unique voice. She broke out while under the tutelage of Questionmark Entertainment in Nigeria and has endeared herself to the world showbiz impresarios in the UK and France with her genre of music, afro soul.

This Day

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