Only 5 African made it onto Times 100 List that was just released. These are the pioneers, giants, titans and leaders who are shaping the history of the continent and making a global impact through their work. These are people who are rolling up their sleeves to fight the status quo, change the African narrative. Below are the excerpts from the testimonials that accompanied the list.
1. FRED SWANIKER #pioneer
Founder – African Leadership Academy and Africa Leadership University
Fred understood that the key to success was not about leading the youth along a preordained path, but about allowing them to become authors of their own stories. That is what has inspired his educational initiatives: the African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network and African Leadership University. Together, they hope to educate 3 million leaders of tomorrow.
Testimonial by Mo Ibrahim
2. ABIY AHMED #leader
Prime Minister of Ethiopia
…last March, while I was training in Kenya, I heard that Dr. Abiy Ahmed would be the next Prime Minister. In Ethiopian history, we have never seen a leader like him. He’s an educated person who talks about unity. He has released thousands of people from jail. He brought peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea after 20 years of war. And he made it possible for me to come home. Yes, people are still protesting. But now, when they protest, they aren’t going to jail. To me, that is democracy. That is hope.
Testimonial by Feyisa Lilesa
3. CYRIL RAMAPHOSA #leader
President of South Africa
Now finally, at 66, Ramaphosa, or Cyril, as he’s known to South Africans, has the chance to end corruption and grow the stalled economy. That could be his toughest battle yet. Blackouts, grinding poverty and massive unemployment have left millions desperate for quick results. Vicious infighting in his African National Congress party leaves him vulnerable to a coup, or perhaps an ouster in elections on May 8. For all that, Ramaphosa has kept his characteristic chuckle and his knack for focusing on the bigger picture. “Unity,” he said recently, “was never going to happen overnight.” After a lifetime fighting his enemies, he should know.
Testimonial by Vivienne Walt
4. CASTER SEMENYA #icon
South African Olympic Gold Medallist
Semenya identifies as a woman, but has testosterone levels higher than the typical female. Her success has brought controversy in elite sport, with many arguing that her biological traits give her an unfair advantage in women’s competition. But Semenya is fighting that. Sport eligibility, she and others say, should not be based on hormone levels or other differences of sex development. If successful, Semenya’s effort could open the door for all who identify as women to compete in track events without having to first medically lower their testosterone levels below a proposed limit.
Ultimately, this incredibly difficult issue is a political one for sport to resolve. But however, it is addressed, Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex.
Testimonial by Edwin Moses
5. MOHAMED SALAH #titan
Egyptian Premier League Footballer
You’d be hard-pressed to find a professional athlete in any sport less affected by their success or status than Mo, which is incredible because I can’t imagine the kind of pressure that comes with the intensity of adoration he receives. Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn’t taking any of this too seriously.
As a footballer, he plays with an infectious joy. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to be able to play as well as him and watching his face light up after he does something incredible, you get the reassuring sense that it’s exactly as fun as you’d want it to be.
Testimonial by John Oliver
You can view the Full List on Time website
Source: Time Magazine
Header Image Credit: Time Magazine