Achebe, Soyinka, Don Jazzy, Genevieve Make Forbes' List Of Influential Africans

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America-based Forbes magazine has named 80-year-old literary icon, Chinua Achebe, among the most influential celebrities in Africa.

Achebe, who has written several novels, is best known with Things Fall Apart, which won him fame and was translated into over 57 other languages.

Other Nigerians on the list of 40 most influential celebrities in Africa which has just been released by Forbes, include Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who came up as the sixth most influential, Afro-beat musician, Femi Kuti, who was number 10 on the list, and Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji, who was listed as the 19th most influential celebrity in Africa.

Novelist Chimamanda Adichie was number 32 on the list. Nigerian musician, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tuface Idibia came up 34th on the list while the 29-year old Peter and Paul Okoye (P-Square) made the 35th on the list. They were closely followed by 30 year-old music producer, Don Jazzy, as D’Banj, 31, made the 37th on the list.

Musician Neka, 31, and Asa, 29, were 38th and 39th on the list respectively.

While 51-year old Senegalese musician, Youssou N’dour, is second on the list,

Chelsea footballer, Didier Drogba, 33, from Ivory Coast, is third. He is followed by

51-year old Beninoise musician, Angelique Kidjo, and Akon, the 38-year old Senegalese musician, who emerged fourth and fifth respectively.

Salif Keita, 62, Malian musician, was seventh, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, 46, South African musician, 8th, Oumou Sangare, 43, Malian musician, 9th, Toumani Diabaté, Malian musician, 11th and Oliver Mtukudzi, 59, Zimbabwean musician, 12th.

Others also include: Haile Gebrselassie, 38, Ethiopian athlete, 13th; Khaled Hadj Ibrahim, 51, Algerian musician, 14th; Samuel Eto’o, 30, Cameroonian soccer star, 15th, Alek Wek, 34, Sudanese model, 16th; Liya Kebede, 33, Ethiopian model, 17th; Dobet Gnahoré, 29, Ivorian musician, 18th.

Congolese musician Koffi Olomidé, 55, is 20th; Neill Blomkamp, 32, South African movie Director, 21st; Souad Massi, 39, Algerian musician, 22nd, Congolese musician, Awilo Longomba, 27th; Kenyan author, Ngugi Wa Thiongo, 73, 30th;and Patricia Amira, 33, Kenyan TV personality 40th.

The magazine said it received 7,500 entries from people after it demanded that people should send names of influential celebrities in the continent.

“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), number of web references on Google, TV/radio mentions and their general clout across the continent.

“Ideally, a robust social media presence would have been an invaluable yardstick in determining the intensity of influence these individuals exert over their enthusiasts. However, apart from Senegalese hip-hop act Akon, Nigerian beat maker Michael Collins a.k.a. 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,” Forbes said.

Describing Drogba, it said after he led the Ivorian national team to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, he famously made a plea to the combatants, requesting that they drop their weapons in pursuit of peace and they listened and announced a ceasefire.

“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.

A handful of celebrities on this list have done very little to support social causes, but make the list anyway because of the overwhelming number of votes they received and the immense acclaim they enjoy across the African continent and the world.”

—Eromosele Ebhomele