For decades, Africans have emigrated from the continent in hopes of better opportunities, or even safety from their war-torn states. Many people with African roots have gone on to make names for themselves in entertainment, science, business and other fields in the western world.
Here is a list of 15 famous figures you would have never guessed are actually African.
1. Elon Musk
The billionaire, serial entrepreneur and business magnate was born in Pretoria, South Africa to a white South African father and a Canadian mother. He was raised in South Africa and only moved to Canada when he was seventeen years old.
2. David Bailie
The late famous actor, photographer and computer programmer was born in Springs, South Africa, went to boarding school in Swaziland then lived in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) for a while before he moved to Britain and got his first big acting break. He died in March, 2021 at the age of 83.
3. Thandie Newton
Melanie Thandiwe “Thandie” Newton was born to a Zimbabwean mother, a member of a Shona chiefly family, and an English father in London. The actress has acted in epic films such as For Colored Girls, Mission Impossible 2, 2012 and many more.
4. Edi Gathegi
The actor moved from Kenya to California in his youth. He is most popularly known for his roles in X-Men, Twilight and the Blacklist.
5. Boris Kodjoe
The popular Black American actor was born in Austria to a German mother and a Ghanaian father from the Ga-Andagbe tribe.
The “Kiss from a Rose” crooner was born to a Nigerian mother from the Yoruba tribe and an Afro-Brazilian father in London. His real name is Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel.
7. Idris Elba
Idrissa “Idris” Akuna Elba was born in London to a Sierra Leonean father and a Ghanaian mother. His parents were married at Sierra Leone before they moved to London and had him. The actor has been in several blockbuster films in Hollywood.
8. Giannis Antetokoumpo
Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokoumpo was born in Greece to Nigerian immigrants. His surname “Antetokoumpo” is the Greek transliteration for the Yoruba name “Adetokunbo”. The NBA champion holds both Greek and Nigerian citizenship.
9. Damson Idris
The famous actor was born in Peckham, London to Nigerian immigrants. Damson Idris, though raised in England, speaks Yoruba fluently as he was raised in a firmly Nigerian home. He is known for his roles in Snowfall and Outside the Wire.
10. Doja Cat
The American pop singer, whose real name is Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, was born in Los Angeles to a Jewish-American mother and a South African father from the Zulu tribe. Her father is a performer best known for starring in the 90’s musical, “Sarafina!”. He is estranged from Doja and the rest of her family.