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Interesting people from Africa


Africa is full of heroes who have made significant achievements and a huge impact not just in their countries or on the continent, but on the rest of the world. Find out who some of them are right here or add your entry.

Swaady Martin-Leke

Swaady is the founder and CEO of a luxury African tea company called YSWARA. A child refugee, Swaady’s family fled 2 violent coups. By now, she has lived in 11 countries and is convinced that Africa’s outlook has to change and that she has to be involved. In 2011 she moved from a successful career at General Electric to something completely different. She wanted something that would promote African culture, identity and resources. It was Swaady’s dream to capture true African luxury, change the world’s perception of Africa and to produce a luxury brand that is truly African in origin, nature and tradition. After much research, introspection and soul searching, she realized her dream and created her company YSWARA. YSWARA has chosen the luxury industry because it is an industry that conveys culture and identity. The luxury industry is a country’s or continent’s image presented to the world. YSWARA also offers luxury candles and spoons and teaware. (See pictures in our gallery)


Happy Birthday Madiba

One of the most iconic men to ever liberate a nation celebrates his 95th birthday today. People from all over the world, from all walks of life are sending him well wishes. Schools will begin their mornings singing Happy Birthday to uTata, biker gangs will be cleaning streets, volunteers will be painting schools and politicians will spend 67 minutes on worthy projects, all to mark Mandela's 67 years of public service after the UN declared his birthday International Mandela Day in 2010. "Take action, inspire change" is 2013's theme for Mandela Day. Though Mandela spends this day in hospital, he is said to be getting better and even watching tv. So we send him our love and say THANK YOU Madiba and Happy Birthday Tata.


Mohau Modisakeng

Growing up in an informal settlement in Soweto Mohau Modisakeng often saw the effects of political violence and poverty. But there was never a shortage of stationery in the family shack. Modisakeng’s father, recognising his son’s love for drawing, often brought home  drawing pads and pens from work. Modisakeng would draw obsessively and later graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town. Now 26, he has exhibited at VOLTA NY, New York, the Saatchi Gallery in London and in several other local and international venues. Much of his work focuses on violence, particularly within an African context. “Had it not been for art and my love for sketching and painting I would have probably lost my bearings and strayed from my goal to rise above my hardships. My work has always presented a channel for me to engage my mind and my spirit in something reflective and introspective,” he says.


Mohau made it to the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South African List for 2013

by Fatima Asmal



Marguerite “Maggy” Barankitse Angel of Africa

Marguerite "Maggy" Barankitse started with only 25 orphans, and over 20 years later has over 20000 whos lives she's changed for the better by protecting and promoting their human rights. The Segal Family Foundation recognised her for her work in Burundi  by giving her the Foundation’s prestigious the “Angel of Africa” award. The foundation supports grassroot organizations, like Barankitse’s Maison Shalom, and has provided grants to dozens working across Africa.

A qualified teacher, and later a seminary student, Maggy was in a chapel when she got her idea to help orphaned children. In October 1993, she started to build Maison Shalom (The house of peace), because of a civil war she had been closely exposed to which orphaned 700 000 children.

What started as a place of refuge for just over two dozen children grew into a village, complete with a recreation centre, farm, school, housing, hospital, and even an income-generating hotel/guesthouse. It has grown so big that it hasn’t only changed the lives of the orphans, but the entire community who now benefit of access to services. Its success, says Maggy, is in the approach. At Maison Shalom, it is an holistic one – centered around the community.


Co-founder of Rancard Solutions

Ehi Binitie is the co-founder and director of Rancard Solutions started in 2001. Rancard is a leading mobile software technology firm providing a cloud based mobile platform for delivery, discovery and monetisation. This software is used by Google, ESPN, VOA and MTV to deliver and monetise services targeted at mobile users in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. To date the platform has delivered over a billion transactions and connects content partners to over 40 mobile operators and over 100 million mobile phone users. A passionate problem solver and entrepreneur, Ehi currently leads Rancard’s efforts in using social recommendations to help mobile users across Africa discover things they might find fun, useful, or relevant via their mobile phones. Rancard was top 15 in the Legatum Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship in 2011 out of 3000 companies from Africa.


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