Biographies by Place

On this blog, we seek to highlight life stories from places which are often neglected in the international media. This page indexes the posts by continent and country. Stay tuned for more entries each semester.

Africa

Algeria

Saint Augustine of Hippo – theologian, bishop, church father

Angola

 

Benin

Benhanzin Hossu Bowelle– political leader, king

Djimon Hounsou – actor

Botswana

Seretse Khama – political leader, king, prime minister

 

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cabo Verde

Cameroon

Joel Embiid – athlete, basketball player (post 1, post 2, post 3)

Pascal Siakam – athlete, basketball player

Arthur Zang – computer engineer, inventor

 

Central African Republic

Chad

Comoros

 

Cote d’Ivoire

Didier Drogba – athlete, soccer (football) player (cross-posted with France)

Dobe Gnahore – musician, singer

Yaya Touré – athlete, soccer (football) player

Democratic Republic of Congo

Chéri Samba – artist

Djibouti

Egypt

Cleopatra – political leader, Queen (post 2)

Nawal El Saadawi – writer, doctor, feminist, activist

Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat – political leader, president

Hatshepsut – political leader, pharaoh

Naguib Mahfouz – writer

Dalia Mogahed – scholar, feminist, activist

Huda Sharawi – feminist, activist

King Tutankhamen – political leader

Ahmed Zewail – chemist, researcher

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Eswatini

Ethiopia

Teddy Afro (Tewodros Kassahu) -musician, singer

Mollie Ahlstrand – chef, restauranteer (cross-posted with the United States)

Meseret Defar – athlete, runner

Solan Gidada – church leader

Tamrat Layne – political leader

Liyou Libsekal – poet, writer, activist

Marcus Samuelsson – chef, restauranteer (cross-posted with Sweden) (post 2)

Haile Selassie – political leader (post 1, post 2)

Gabon

 

The Gambia

Jaha Dukureh – human rights activist, feminist

Sona Jobarteh – musician, griotte

Ghana

Ama Ata Aidoo – writer

El Anatsui – artist

Kofi Annan – leader (post 2, post 3)

Queen Nanny of the Maroons – military leader (cross-posted with Jamaica)

Fred Swaniker– entrepreneur, builder of schools

 

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Kenya

Jomo Kenyatta – anthropologist, writer, political leader

Eliud Kipchoge – athlete, runner (post 1, post 2)

Wangari Maathai – environmentalist (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4)

Charles Mully – humanitarian (post 1, post 2)

Lupita Nyong’o – actor (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4)

David Rudisha – athlete, runner

Serah Shani – anthropologist, professor

Aliphine Tuliamuk – athlete, runner

Ngugi wa Thiong’o – writer, theorist

 

Kush (contemporary Sudan and Egypt)

Queen Amanirenas – political leader

 

Lesotho

Liberia

Leymah Gbowee – peacemaker, peace activist

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – political leader, president (post 1, post 2, post 3)

George Weah – political leader, president, athlete

Libya

Noor Tagouri – activist, journalist (cross-posted with the United States)

Madagascar

Malawi

Jack Mapanje – writer

Mali

Salif Keita – musician, singer

Malick Sidibé – photographer

Mauritania

Biram Dah Abeid – human rights activist, politician

 

Mauritius

Morocco

Abdelaziz Bouteflika– military and political leader, president

Nawal El Mutawakel – athlete, runner

 

Mozambique

Graça Machel – activist, leader

 

Namibia

Behati Prinsloo – model, environmental activist

 

Niger

Nigeria

2018 Olympic Bobsled Team – athletes

Chinua Achebe – writer (post 1, post 2, post 3)

Israel Adesanya– athlete, UFC Fighter (cross-posted with New Zealand)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (post 1, post 2)

Nelson Agholor – athlete, American football player

Jackie Aina – blogger, YouTuber, make-up artist, influencer (cross-posted with United States)

Peju Alatise – artist

Bisi Alimi – LGBTQ activist

Lesley Nneka Arimah – writer (cross-posted with United States)

Uneku Atawodi-Edun – athlete, polo player, entrepreneur

Dbanj – musician, singer

Chiwetel Ejiofor – actor

Victor Ehikhamenor – artist, writer, photographer

Philip Emeagwali – computer scientist

Helon Habila – writer

Sinach Joseph – musician, gospel singer

Fela Kuti – musician, activist (post 1, post 2)

Bobby Ologun – comedian

Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (Burna Boy) – musician, singer

Molara Ogundipe-Leslie – scholar, writer, feminist

Bennet Omalu – medical researcher, neuropathologist

Ola Orekunrin – medical doctor, entrepreneur, humanitarian

Sade – musician, singer

Wole Soyinka – writer, activist (post 1, post 2)

Adamu Waziri – cartoonist, animator

Balaraba Ramat Yakubu – writer

 

Republic of the Congo

Serge Ibaka – athlete, basketball player (cross-posted with Spain)

 

Rwanda

Liz Ingabire – humanitarian

Paul Kagame – political leader, president (post 2)

Isabelle Kamaliza – humanitarian

Zura Karuhimbi – healer, humanitarian

Jean Bosco Nzeyimana – businessman, entrepreneur

 

Sao Tome and Principe

Senegal

Akon – musician (post 1, post 2)

Cheikh Anta Diop – anthropologist, political activist

Baaba Maal – musician, singer

Djibril Diop Mambety – filmmaker

Youssou N’Dour – musician, singer

Léopold Sédar Senghor – poet, political leader

Omar Sy – actor

 

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Ismael Beah – writer

Samuel Coleridge Taylor – musician, composer, conductor

 

Somalia

Nuruddin Farah – writer

K’naan – musician, singer (post 1, post 2, post 3)

South Africa

Christiaan Barnard – heart surgeon, medical researcher (post 1, post 2)

Steve Biko – writer, activist

Yvonne Chaka Chaka – musician, singer, humanitarian, entrepreneur

Lucky Dube – musician, singer

Jacobus Herculaas de la Ray – military leader

Ernie Els – athlete, golfer

AKA Kiernan Jarryd Forbes – musician, rapper

Michael February – athlete, surfer

Nadine Gordimer – writer

Bessie Head – writer

Shirene Human – athlete, figure skater

Quarraisha Abdool Karim – medical researcher

Antjie Krog – writer

Miriam Makeba – musician, singer, activist (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4)

Pauline Malefane – musician, singer, actor

Nelson Mandela – political leader, activist (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4)

Winnie Mandela – activist

Hugh Masekela – musician, activist

Pumeza Matshikiza – musician, opera singer

Elon Musk – entrepreneur, computer scientist (post 2) (cross-posted with United States)

Hamilton Naki – medical researcher

Mpho Gift Ngoepe– athlete, baseball player

Trevor Noah – entertainer, comedian (post 2)

Zola Nene – chef

Oscar Pistorius – athlete, runner (post 2)

Puleng Seglado – psycologist

Jordy Smith – athlete, surfer (post 1, post 2, post 3)

Mary Sibande – artist

J. R. R. Tolkien – writer, philologist (cross-posted with the United Kingdom)

Neil Turok – mathematician, physicist

Desmond Tutu – church leader (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4)

Shaun Tomson – athlete, surfer

Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph – musician, composer

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers– performance artist, poet

Shaka Zulu – political leader, king (post 1, post 2)

 

South Sudan

Luol Deng – athlete, basketball player (cross-posted with the United States)

Sudan

Ibrahim El-Salahi – artist (cross posted with England)

 

Tanzania

David Adjaye – architect (cross-posted with England)

Mathew Byamungu – church leader

Freddie Mercury – musician, singer (cross-posted with England and India)

Togo

 

Tunisia

Héla Ammar – artist, photographer

 

Uganda

Idi Amin – political leader, dictator

Winnie Byanyima – political leader

Robert Katende – chess coach, humanitarian (post 2)

Esther Ruth Mbabazi – photographer

Miriam Gesa Mutabazi – medical doctor, medical administration, humanitarian

 

Western Sahara

Zambia

Dambisa Moyo – economist (post 2)

 

Zimbabwe

NoViolet Bulawayo – writer

Dambudzo Marechera – writer

Robert Mugabe – political leader

Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi – musician, singer

Yvonne Vera – writer

 

 

The Americas

Antigua

Jamaica Kincaid – writer (cross-posted with the United States)

 

Cuba

Alejo Carpentier – writer

Roberto Fernández Retamar – writer, literary critic

 

Guatemala

Sabrina Vourvoulias – writer, journalist, editor (cross-posted with United States)

 

Jamaica

Queen Nanny of the Maroons – military leader (cross-posted with Ghana)

United States

Susan Abdulhawa – writer, activist (cross-posted with Palestine)

Nelson Agholor – athlete, American football player (cross-posted with Nigeria)

Mollie Ahlstrand – chef, restauranteer (cross-posted with Ethiopia)

Jackie Aina – blogger, YouTuber, make-up artist, influencer (cross-posted with Nigeria)

S. K. Ali – writer (cross-posted with India)

Lesley Nneka Arimah – writer (cross-posted with Nigeria)

Bessie Virginia Blount – forensic scientist, inventor, physical therapist

Octavia E. Butler – writer

Luol Deng – athlete, basketball player (cross-posted with South Sudan)

Philip Emeagwali – computer scientist (cross-posted with Nigeria)

Henry Louis Gates Jr. – literary theorist, public intellectual

Percy Lavon Julian – chemist

Jamaica Kincaid – writer (cross-posted with Antigua)

Ursula K. Le Guin – writer

Carmen Maria Machado – writer

Benjamin Madley – historian

Deborah Miranda – writer

Dalia Mogahed – scholar, feminist, activist (cross-posted with Egypt)

Chandra Talpade Mohanty – literary theorist, feminist (cross-posted with India)

Janelle Monáe – musician, actress

Toni Morrison – writer, editor

Elon Musk – entrepreneur, computer scientist (post 2) (cross-posted with South Africa)

Lesie Marmon Silko – writer

Vandana Singh– writer, professor of physics (cross-posted with India)

Noor Tagouri – activist, journalist (cross-posted with Libya)

Sabaa Tahir – writer (cross-posted with Pakistan)

Chrysanthemum Tran – spoken word poet (cross-posted with Vietnam)

Sabrina Vourvoulias – writer, journalist, editor (cross-posted with Guatemala)

Alyssa Wong– writer

 

Asia

India

S. K. Ali – writer (cross-posted with the United States)

Chandra Talpade Mohanty – literary theorist, feminist (cross-posted with the United States)

Freddie Mercury – musician, singer (cross-posted with England and Tanzania)

Vandana Singh– writer, professor of physics (cross-posted with United States)

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak – literary theorist, feminist, translator

 

Iran

Sharin Ebadi – lawyer, human rights activist

Marjane Satrapi – graphic novelist, filmmaker (cross-posted with France)

Japan

Hiromu Arakawa – manga artist, writer

Asano Atsuko – writer

Bobby Ologun – comedian (cross-posted with Nigeria)

 

Pakistan

Sabaa Tahir – writer (cross-posted with the United States)

Palestine

Susan Abdulhawa – writer, activist (Cross-posted with the United States)

Edward Said – literary and cultural critic

Yacoub Shaheen – musician, singer

 

The Philippines

José Rizal – writer, activist

 

Syria

Asya Abdullah – activist, political leader

 

Vietnam

Chrysanthemum Tran – spoken word poet (cross-posted with United States)

 

Europe

England

David Adjaye – architect (cross-posted with Tanzania)

Angela Carter – writer

Chiwetel Ejiofor – actor (cross-posted with Nigeria)

Ibrahim El-Salahi – artist (cross posted with Sudan)

Sona Jobarteh – musician, griotte (cross-posted with The Gambia)

Freddie Mercury – musician, singer (cross-posted with Tanzania and India)

Sade – musician, singer (cross-posted with Nigeria)

Samuel Coleridge Taylor – musician, composer, conductor (cross-posted with Sierra Leone)

J. R. R. Tolkien – author, philologist (cross-posted with South Africa)

France

Didier Drogba – athlete, soccer (football) player (cross-posted with C’ote D’Ivoire)

Marjane Satrapi – graphic novelist, filmmaker (cross-posted with Iran)

Omar Sy – actor (cross-posted with Senegal)

 

Spain

Serge Ibaka – athlete, basketball player (cross-posted with Republic of Congo)

Sweden

Marcus Samuelsson – chef, restauranteer (cross-posted with Ethiopia) (post 2)

 

The Pacific

New Zealand

Israel Adesanya – athlete, UFC fighter (cross-posted with Nigeria)